200 tons of crude oil spills in the Gulf of Eilat

Israel offers assistance to Jordanians in handling oil spill in Aqaba Port, while its Environmental Protection inspectors are closely monitoring the situation; oil spill currently pushed by winds towards Saudi.

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Some 200 tons of crude oil leaked on Tuesday into the Gulf of Eilat from a fuel storage facility at the Aqaba Port, Jordanian media reported. Officials are concerned the oil spill will make its way towards Israel.

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After receiving the report of the spill from its eastern neighbor at around 4pm Tuesday, Israel has offered its assistance to the Jordanians, but so far the kingdom has chosen to handle the spill on its own.

Israel’s Foreign and Environmental Protection Ministries are in constant contact with the Jordanians and are prepared to provide aid in the form of equipment and manpower, if asked.

The winds in the area are currently pushing the oil spill towards Saudi Arabia, but Israel is prepared in case the wind changes direction. Environmental Protection Ministry inspectors are closely monitoring the oil spill and examining the effects it could have on the shores of Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat.

Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin was in Eilat on vacation when the spill occurred, and has been managing the crisis from there.

“If you want proof that at this point, everything is fine on our end—tomorrow morning you’ll find me with the family at the beach here, ” Elkin said.

The chair of the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company, Erez Halfon—with the help of Minister Elkin and Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold—has offered the help of his company’s engineers to the Jordanians.

Halfon said that the two nations must join forces in order to mitigate the damage to the Gulf of Eilat, and that his company’s engineers have the required knowledge, skill, expertise and equipment to handle such a spill.

By Itamar Eichner, Ilana Curiel

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