The southern port of Ashkelon has been closed to tankers following Hamas’ attack on Israel.

Shipowners were also hesitating about calling at other terminals in the country as the violence continued, reports said.

The Wall Street Journal reported that port agents told tanker owners their ships must wait offshore at Ashkelon in a move that threatens the economy during the conflict.

Oil trading and shipbroking sources said the port had been closed indefinitely.

Ashkelon is Israel’s biggest oil terminal. Haifa, which takes in 20% of petrol imports, remained open on Tuesday.

AIS data shows just two tugs in the terminal.

No data was available from the anchorage outside the port.

VesselFinder said that at Ashkelon “no vessels have arrived within the past 24 hours and no ships are expected to arrive in the next 30 days”.

Ashkelon is only 10km from the border with the Gaza Strip, from where Hamas launched rockets in a surprise attack on Saturday.

The Israeli military has called up 300,000 reservists as a result and blockaded the territory.

Israel’s state-owned Europe Asia Pipeline Company (EAPC), which runs a major terminal in Ashkelon, has not commented.

The company has five berths at the port.

Ashdod port also remained open, sources told Reuters.

Local P&I correspondent Harpaz P&I said the Israeli navy is controlling traffic to the country’s southern ports of Ashdod and Ashkelon.

The port of Ashdod is operating under “emergency mode” status, it said.

The Ministry of Transport has told the port of Ashod to regulate the entry of vessels. Any ships carrying hazardous materials must be pre-approved 48 hours before entry by the Administration of Shipping and Ports.

On Monday, TradeWinds reported that shipowners active in Israel and Lebanon were being warned to exercise maximum caution after the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flared up to levels of violence not seen in decades.

A major shipowners’ organisation issued a “Security Level 3” warning to members sailing in the area.

That is its maximum security level.

Cruise operators have already begun diverting ships away from Israel, especially from Ashdod.