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Cleanup of remaining traces of Aqaba oil spill continues — ASEZA

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Aug 23,2022 - Last updated at Aug 23,2022

An aerial view of the Aqaba port (Al Rai photo)

AMMAN — Official cleanup teams are still dealing with remaining traces of an oil spill from a ship that docked at the Aqaba port last week, according to the Commissioner for Tourism and Environment in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Nidal Majali. 

He said that a specialised and equipped team of professionals from the Prince Hamzah Centre for Pollution Control has been working non-stop for the past seven days to clean the dispersed oil spots.  

“The amount of oil spilled, which is 11 tonnes and 400 kilos, is manageable. However, air and ocean currents have slowed down the cleaning process and made it more difficult,” Majali told The Jordan Times. 

The movement of waves and the tide also caused the majority of remaining oil traces to settle under the container port, which is 1km-long and 30m-deep, he continued. 

“We’ve also received information about small traces of the polluting matter reaching beaches at the three neighbouring countries surrounding the Gulf of Aqaba,” Majali added. 

He also noted that an incident report has been submitted to the Regional Organisation for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA). 

Techniques used in the cleanup include vacuum systems and artificial wave generation that help move oil spots into reachable areas, according to Majali.

He also noted that ASEZA is cooperating with specialised local Jordanian companies that will be providing the equipment needed for the cleaning process. 

“We are working carefully, following a set plan to maintain the safety of workers and ensure no serious environmental damage,” he continued. 

The Marine Science Station has confirmed that all collected samples and examined areas have shown that marine life and coral reefs remain unharmed. 

Majali also advised “beachgoers, swimmers and divers to exercise caution and care, stay clear of areas affected by the oil spill and report anything unusual to official authorities”. 

He added that the involved specialists are preparing a detailed report with a plan and an estimated timetable for the cleanup that will be ready this week. 

The preliminary results of the ongoing judicial investigation indicate that the source of the pollution was a technical failure on a Palauan merchant vessel importing fertilisers from Jordan.

 

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