What is the source of the tar that was spilled off the coast of Israel? Is it crude oil, or one of the various types of fuel oil? Laboratory tests performed at the Hebrew University, the results of which reached Globes, shed light on the source of the tar. The samples collected by researchers from the Institute of Earth Sciences show that the source of the tar is, in fact, crude oil, and not an oil distillate such as fuel oil.
The ability to identify the source of fuel that solidified into tar after being dumped into the sea is also a critical tool for investigating the disaster itself, as it provides a lead towards identifying the vessel involved. To find out the source of the tar, the researchers - Ilya Kotozov, Yonatan Goldsmith and Alon Amrani - collected tar that was piled up on the beach in Bat Yam on February 20. The hydrocarbons in the tar indicated that the source is probably crude oil - and not another refining product. Among other things, saturated hydrocarbons, aromatic substances, asphalt, and resins were found in the tar. The composition of the saturated hydrocarbons provided the indicator that the substance is crude oil.