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Spill Notification Point
Marine and Coastal Environment Division (MEPD)
Ministry of the Environmental Protection
15a Pal Yam Street, P.O. Box 811, Haifa 31007
Tel: +972 4 863 3500 or +972 050 623 7681 (24hr emergency)
Fax: +972 4 863 3520
RCC Haifa (24 hrs)
+972 4 863 3520
Haifa Port Area
Tel: +972 4 851 8376 or +972 4 863 3500 (office hrs) or 050-6237601 (after hrs/mobile)
Fax: +972 4 863 3520 (office hrs)
Ashdod Port Area
Tel: +972 8 852 2203 (office hours) or 050-5712050 (after hours/mobile)
Fax: +972 4 863 3520 (office hrs)
Eilat Port Area
Tel: +972 8 637 6376 (office hrs) or 050-6233052 (after hours/mobile)
Fax: +972 8 637 6375 (office hrs)
Competent National Authority
Details as for spill notification point.
The Marine and Coastal Environment Division of the Ministry of the Environment (MCED) is the national authority responsible for prevention, preparedness and response for all types of marine pollution. MCED inspectors carry out aerial, marine and coastal surveillance and inspect vessels and shore installations. They are responsible for ensuring that all necessary clean-up operations at sea and onshore are carried out properly, either directly by the polluter and/or through its contractors, or if previous measures fail, by MECD equipment and personnel.
The National Contingency Plan for Preparedness and Response to Combating Marine Oil Pollution was prepared by the Environment Ministry in 2002 and was approved in 2008. The National Contingency Plan is currently being reviewed, following an incident that occurred in February 2021, where an unknown quantity of crude oil (from an unknown source) washed ashore covering the Israeli coastline. Additionally, Cyprus, Greece, and Israel signed the Implementation Agreement on the Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan in 2018.
In the event of a major spill, an Emergency Command would convene immediately in the National RCC and Pollution Response Command Center in Haifa. This command is comprised of the Director of Shipping and Ports Administration of the Ministry of Transport, the Head of Marine and Coastal Environment Division of the Ministry of the Environment and their various experts and advisers.
In the Gulf of Aqaba (Eilat) only mechanical cleaning is permissible. Along the Mediterranean coast, aerial dispersant application is considered as a primary and principal response for tier 2 and 3 incidents. Only 3rd generation dispersants are accepted, with prior written authorisation from the Ministry of the Environment. The use of dispersants in places where the water depth is less than 20 metres and in places nearer than one nautical mile from national parks, marine reserves or other specially protected areas is prohibited. Mechanical response will be applied, if possible, only as a second response choice. However, due to weather and geographical considerations, it is expected that in a case of a serious spill, large quantities of oil will land on the beaches. Therefore a considerable emphasis is placed on shoreline cleanup, using mechanical and manual as well as bioremediation techniques. Disposal sites for oil and oily debris have been identified.
In 2022, the Ministry of Environmental Protection updated and published a memorandum of the Law on Preparedness and Response to Incidents of Oil Pollution of the Sea and the Coastal Environment after implementing comments from the public and government ministries. According to the law's memorandum, entities who border or have responsibility for coastal strips or operations at sea such as coastal local authorities, nature park authorities, ports, factories, security facilities, and facilities that explore and produce oil and gas, must all be prepared for incidents of sea pollution. They are required to prepare local emergency plans, which are submitted for approval by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The bill also regulates how such incidents are handled and their aftermath.
There are several stockpiles of response resources. In Eilat the MECD maintains a Marine Pollution Prevention Station, manned 24 hours a day by professional marine pollution inspectors. Pollution abatement equipment at the station includes skimmers, pumps, booms, sorbents, tanks, oil separators, containers and absorption materials. In January 2002 an oil combat vessel – “Sviva II” - was incorporated into Eilat/Aqaba’s preparedness system. On the Mediterranean coast the MECD keeps two stockpile locations - at Haifa and Ashkelon, capable of dealing with spills up to 4,000 tonnes.
Israel Electric Corporation keeps resources at its Mediterranean coastal power stations at Haifa, Hadera, Tel Aviv, Ashdod and Ashkelon. Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co. keeps limited resources and several vessels at Ashkelon. Oil and Energy Infrastructure Ltd keeps limited resources at Haifa. Several private contractors have barges, tugs, vacuum trucks, skimmers, booms, pumps and other devices in Haifa and in Ashdod.
Previous Spill Experience
Israel has experienced several small to medium spills. The BILKUR (1988) hit a breakwater at Ashdod spilling 100 tonnes of fuel oil, of which 40 tonnes were recovered. The EYAL (1989) sank outside Haifa Port with the loss of some 100 tonnes of fuel oil, polluting local beaches. This was dealt with using manual and steam-cleaning methods. A ruptured flexible hose caused a spill of about 300 tonnes of HFO in Haifa Bay in 1991 and contaminated 8km of coastline. In December 1992, a barge sank inside Haifa Port releasing 300 tonnes of HFO. This was cleaned by mechanical means. The most recent spill occurred in February 2021, when an unknown quantity of crude oil washed ashore along the Israeli coastline. Fingerprinting analysis found that the oil most likely originated from washings of cargo tanks, however, the identity of the liable tanker was not confirmed. Clean-up operations were mostly finished by mid-April 2021, largely consisting of manual collection.
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional & Bilateral Agreements
Barcelona Convention (with states bordering the Mediterranean).
A trilateral agreement and sub-regional contingency plan with Egypt and Cyprus.
Upper Gulf of Aqaba sub-regional contingency plan with Egypt and Jordan.
Cyprus, Greece, and Israel signed the Implementation Agreement on the Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan in 2018.
For further information see also REMPEC (Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea) Country Profile
Date of issue: May 2023