Israel Detects No Sign of Coral Reef Damage From Aqaba Oil Spill

With the leak plugged and the substance that oozed out apparently headed downstream toward Saudi Arabia, underwater life in the Gulf of Eilat seems to have been spared any damage from the Jordanian spill.

Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat
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Jordanian families visit the Gulf of Aqaba in 2015.
Jordanian families visit the Gulf of Aqaba in 2015.Credit: Getty Images / Lonely Planet
Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat

Aerial surveillance by Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection on Wednesday detected no evidence of a Gulf of Aqaba oil spill reaching Israel's shores.

The Nature Protection Society reported there were no signs of any oil pollution at the coral reef off the coast of Eilat.

Two-hundred tons of crude oil leaked at into Aqaba from Jordan's port on Tuesday.

Initial reports suggested that the spill was drifting southward toward the beaches of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, but due to its proximity, there were fears that some of the oil would reach Israel's beaches, too.

The leak has since been stopped.

The Israeli ministry operates an anti-pollution station to handle oil spills. Aqaba is the only port through which Jordan can receive oil via sea shipments, but containers are also unloaded in Israel just across the gulf. At the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 70s there were periodic spills which damaged the coral reef, but such cases have grown much rarer in recent years.

Israel and Jordan have in the past held joint drills for handling oil spills, the last of which was held less than a year ago.

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