Environment Ministry holds drill to clean up Eilat oil spill

In September, three environmental groups threatened to file a lawsuit against the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company after about 100 cubic meters of oil leaked from the pipeline near Ashkelon in August.

One of the highlights of Eilat is seeing fish like these while snorkeling or diving (photo credit: JEREMY WERMEILLE/UNSPLASH)
One of the highlights of Eilat is seeing fish like these while snorkeling or diving
(photo credit: JEREMY WERMEILLE/UNSPLASH)

The Environmental Protection Ministry held an exercise this week to practice its response to a potential oil spill in Eilat Port.

Initiated by the Sea Pollution Prevention Station, which belongs to the ministry’s Marine Unit, the teams drilled scenarios including a malfunction in a ship located in a pier at the port resulting in oil pouring into the sea.

The teams practiced pumping fuel from the sea into special vessels. Oil includes all types of fossil fuels that are transported at sea, including crude oil and distilled products such as diesel fuel and gasoline.

The ministry carried out the exercise as part of the annual training and exercise regimen in the framework of TAMA – the National Program for Readiness and Response to Sea Pollution Events – in order to maintain the competence and skill of the various units.

In September, three environmental organizations threatened to file a lawsuit against the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company after approximately 100 cubic meters of oil leaked from the pipeline near Ashkelon in August.

The Environmental Protection Ministry holds a drill in December 2021 to practice cleaning the Eilat Port from an oil spill. (credit: ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION MINISTRY)The Environmental Protection Ministry holds a drill in December 2021 to practice cleaning the Eilat Port from an oil spill. (credit: ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION MINISTRY)

That leak led to the need to clear 5,000 tons of contaminated soil and concerns that the fuel had contaminated groundwater. The organizations, including the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), the Israel Union for Environmental Defense and Zalul, warned that they would file a lawsuit if no concrete steps are taken to correct the issues in the pipeline and prevent the recurrence of environmental damage.