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Oil leaks from docked naval vessel into Red Sea near Eilat

Authorities probing incident but say fault that caused hydraulic oil to escape into sea has been fixed; environmental group urges IDF to enact serious green reforms

An Israel Navy ship operates off the coast of Eilat after an oil spill, on October 14, 2021. (Eli Warburg and Oz Goren/Environmental Protection Ministry)
An Israel Navy ship operates off the coast of Eilat after an oil spill, on October 14, 2021. (Eli Warburg and Oz Goren/Environmental Protection Ministry)

Dozens of liters of hydraulic oil leaked into the Red Sea from a ship docked at an Israel Navy base off the Red Sea coast of Eilat on Thursday.

The navy was working with the Environmental Protection Ministry to block the spread of the oil, which had extended beyond the boundaries of the base, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the oil to leak from the missile-carrier ship. The ministry announced it was opening a probe into the matter.

It initially said that hundreds of liters of oil had leaked off the ship, but later updated the amount to “several dozen liters.” It also said that the cause of the leak had been dealt with, without providing details.

Thursday’s incident follows another oil spill that took place at the same Eilat navy base earlier this year, which is still being investigated.

The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Maya Yaakovs, who heads the Zalul environmental association, called for “comprehensive environmental reform in the IDF, which is one of the largest polluters in the country.”

“Until the laws for the prevention of environmental pollution are taken seriously, and significant enforcement and punishment are applied, we will see more and more violations of sensitive” areas, such as Eilat’s coral reef, Yaakovs said.

“In the age of climate crises, it is time for polluters of all kinds, to internalize that times have changed and that nature must not continue to be polluted.”

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