South Sinai authorities report that as of December 12, the region’s marine environment is free of contamination from an oil spill north of the border.
The statement, released by the Environment Ministry, refers obliquely to a crude oil leak that occurred while oil was being transferred from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean Sea.
On December 4, five million of liters of crude oil leaked from a section of the Israeli-owned Eilat Ashkelon pipeline, flooding the Evrona Nature reserve near the Israel-Jordan border. The incident has been described as one of Israel’s worst natural disasters and may take years to clean up.
The Evrona reserve is inland, about 24 kilometers north of the Egyptian border city of Taba on the Gulf of Aqaba.
Observers initially feared that heavy rains could wash oil into the Gulf of Aqaba, threatening the delicate marine environment of the Red Sea. Clean-up crews have built dams and begun suctioning up the spilled oil, and as of Sunday, [Israeli] officials announced that the spill was under control.
According to the Environment Ministry, local agencies including the border guard and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, along with the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea are on alert for any signs of contamination.