An Egyptian-operated vessel has reportedly run aground in the Aqaba Marine Reserve on the Red Sea. The Jordanian authorities are now assessing the damages to the coral reef in the area’s shallow waters, per The National.
This is the second environment-related incident to take place in Aqaba, the only outlet Jordan has that leads to the sea, in the last month, when a similar vessel operated by the same Egyptian firm spilt fuel oil, polluting parts of the coral reef. Some local divers referred to it as the worst spill to have happened in decades.
The official Jordanian news agency mentioned that a cargo vessel sailing from Egypt unexpectedly ran aground as it was entering the territorial waters of Jordan.
It said divers had been dispatched to the accident site to assess environmental damage after towing the vessel.
An official in Aqaba identified the vessel as the Lotus, a general cargo vessel built in 1990.
The International Register of Shipping reflects that the Lotus is operated by Sea Gate Management, an Egyptian firm.
It operates the Flower of Sea, the same class of vessel that the authorities of Jordan said had spilt at least 11 tonnes of fuel oil in the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba.
The spill impaired the coral reef in Aqaba and largely washed onto the southern shoreline that forms the marine reserve.
The relevant Jordanian authorities mentioned that the spill spread to neighbouring nations.
The Aqaba Marine Reserve comprises about half of Jordan’s coastline, stretching 26 kilometres.
The official reported that the vessel was towed to the Aqaba port for investigation.
The official specified that no one is permitted to come close to the vessel pending the inspection.
The marine reserve was reportedly carved out over the last few years to try to end the significant depletion of fish and the destruction of Aqaba’s coral reef from decades of pollution and construction.
References: Port News, Fresh Society
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