Aqaba coastline cleanup done, marine life assessment report to come
The overall cleanup operation of the Aqaba seawater affected by an oil slick since Nov. 5 has been completed, said a senior Aqaba Ports Corporation official on Monday.
"From our observation, the pollution [caused by the oil spill] in the water area is 100 per cent cleansed," Saud Srour, the corporation assistant director general told the Jordan Times.
On the other hand, the cleanup process along the coastline, in particular the sand and rocks, is 98-99 percent done, he added.
"What remains amounts to a very small percentage — no more than one or two per cent — of the entire coastline cleanup process, [which entails] removal and transfer of affected sand and rocks to the appropriate area [for disposal]," he said.
"This has taken a bit longer because we usually have to await the low tides during the daylight to do the work," he said.
The saga of the oil-spill began on Nov. 5 when a fuel tanker skidded off the road and into the Red Sea in Aqaba, discharging its entire cargo which caused the oil slick, and affecting around 8-10 kilometers of coastline.
The oil slick was scattered into patches and not concentrated in one particular place.The corporation dispatched all necessary equipment to the incident site and surrounding areas polluted by the oil.
The marine pollution control specialists' efforts consisted of containing and soaking up the spill which had broken up in the sea.
The heavy fuel truck dived into the water when the driver lost control of the vehicle because of faulty brakes. One of the driver's legs was broken in the accident.
The fuel truck bore an Iraqi license plate and its driver is a native of that country. The truck's load was around "29 thousand liters of fuel," said Srour.
A special technical committee was formed to evaluate losses in marine life, said the official. "The report is not yet finished, however, and from what we can see, we have not observed any damage to the marine life," he said. Nevertheless, "we have to await the appointed committee's official report."
The committee represents the Ports Corporation, the Aqaba governor, the General Corporation for Environmental Protection, the Aqaba Security Department and the Marine Science Station.
"The immediate appropriate reactions taken by the corporation helped to minimise the damage to marine life," said the official.
( Jordan Times )
By Khalid Dalal
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)