Hundreds of gallons of oil spilled into Haifa Bay on Tuesday after a maintenance ship hit a pipeline.

Oil flowed 1200 metres into the sea towards Kiryat Yam, directly north of Israeli city, and was pushed by currents onto beaches.

The incident prompted emergency beach closures while oil slicks were cleaned off the sand, as a Ministry of Health warning against bathing in the sea on beaches that had not been closed.

The spill took place in the process of removing five inactive oil pipes after one had leaked and oil had been washed onto beaches in 2014. A ship participating in the removal operation was responsible for accidentally striking the pipe.

On Wednesday morning the spill had been cleaned and treated. In a statement, the Ministry of Environmental Protection praised the “quick action” of first responders in ensuring the oil had not spread very far.

Beaches are clean and due to reopen soon, pending approval from the Ministries of Health and Interior.

The ship that caused the pipe to burst belongs to Petroleum Energy Infrastructures Ltd. (PEI). ( Photo by: Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry /JINIPIX)

The ship that caused the pipe to burst belongs to Petroleum Energy Infrastructures Ltd. (PEI). ( Photo by: Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry /JINIPIX)