Fuel contamination in Israel — sabotage???

Emergency committee formed to investigate fuel contamination

Israel Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz formed an emergency inspection committee on Thursday, led by his head of office Dan Harel, to look into the fuel contamination that has halted all flights departing Ben-Gurion Airport.

In addition to the formation of the committee, jet-fuel is currently being transferred from Israeli emergency gas tanks to the airport in Lod in a bid to resume outgoing flights.

Katz arrived at Ben-Gurion airport Thursday to discuss the contamination, telling the media that “a serious problem was discovered today in the fueling of airplanes departing from Ben Gurion Airport. It was therefore decided to ground the airplanes and begin inspections immediately.”

The transportation lamented the severity of the situation, saying “this is a very serious issue. I have instructed that an inspection committee be created immediately, led by the head of my office, that will look into the incident and advise on how to proceed in the next few days.”

Katz explained that for the interim, jet-fuel would be transferred to the airport from emergency tanks in Pi Glilot so that the grounded planes can depart as soon as possible. He said that the contaminated gas is being contained and planes are being fueled with enough gas to reach Cypress, where they can fill their tanks to capacity and continue to their intended destination.

Katz said that seven of the delayed planes will not take off Thursday night, and that passengers will be notified of further developments.

The transportation minister clarified that “there was never any doubt regarding the safety of passengers, and all fuel inside planes is not contaminated.” He added that the contaminated gas was discovered on Thursday, prompting the immediate halting of all flights.

The symptoms of the contaminated jet fuel which stopped flights out of Ben-Gurion International Airport on Thursday were also seen in recent weeks in buses and trucks across Israel, TheMarker reported.

The contaminated fuel contains unidentified greasy liquid parts that get stuck in the filter of gas pipelines, damaging the tank of the vehicle.

The biological Institute in Nes Tziona was summoned a few days ago to take samples at a fuel terminal in Israel’s central region.

The halting of departures and rerouting of foreign airliners in need of refueling is expected to cause massive flight delays, and has left thousands of passengers stranded.

May 5, 2011 | 7 Comments »

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7 Comments / 7 Comments

  1. Shmuel–such a pleasure to read an adult comment based on professional experience. Thank you.

  2. there are a lot of reasons (economic, political, strategic) why israel would not initially report the possibility a terror attack, especially if the samples are currently being tested in germany http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4065428,00.html

    as to the source of contamination, i read that israel purchased a large quantity of jet fuel from the U.S. over a year ago. and i don’t think egypt sources provide jet fuel.

  3. I have worked for ten years in support of the Oil destilleries in Israel and the logistics lab dealing with fuel and lubricants for the IDF. Also performed some work on behalf of the Electric Company Lab in Ashkelon.
    I retired from that facet of my work a year ago.
    Very advanced equipments are used at the Laboratories to rigidly control the specification compliance of the incomming oil and of the products the destilleries and IDF provide to the customers.
    If it would have been products from one destillery, “meleh”. Not from all of them at once.
    I cannot address if the bus companies, truckers or Israel Rairoads have Incoming Inspection using specialized test equipments or not. We at the time of my involvements strongly proposed that major users such as BG, EGGED, Dan, Port authority, etc, acquire certain equipments to VERIFY compliance.
    The Standards Institure is to me an unknown quantity on this as it is on many other issues such as EM radiation from fluorescent illumination new devices. I would suggest that any investigation review is performing Audits on documentation and calibration status is sufficient or not. Product compliance of products made in massive amounts such as fuel, requires, in my view, far more than paper trail review.
    At any rate the contamination is very peculiar and we should at this time let the relevant agencies track its origin. Was the fuel imported?
    Be that as it may we again are caught with the proverbials down and the usual “invetigative committee” will meander around the problem until they find a willing or unwilling “shin gimmel” to blame.

  4. Without wishing to speculate, analytically speaking there are several possibilities, including not only hostile action but also accident, attempting to cut corners somewhere in the supply chain to save a few shekels, storage environment error, external physical causes, and measurement error. Thus we must wait for the results of the investigation. I am sure Ted will stay on top of this still breaking story. Until then, let’s withhold judgment.