Both the Khaleej Times (2 April 2008) and the Gulf News (1 April 2008) have reported two further oil slicks this week in the Fujairah waters.
The Gulf News article says that “oil spills have become a regular occurrence all along the East Coast with authorities unable to stop or prosecute offending ships.” The oil disasters along the eastern shoreline in recent months have been reported on these sites on 20 February, 2008 and the 11 March 2008.
Fish off the Menu
The Khaleej Times reports the concerns of local fishermen and the Gulf News reports the oil in the Qidfa waters with its proximity to Fujairah’s main desalination plant.
There are residents in Fujairah and Kalba who have taken fresh fish off their menus because of the regular evacuation of oil from the tankers with dead fish often being washed up on the Fujairah beaches. Soon people will be opting not to drink Fujairah fresh(?) water.
Cries from Hoteliers & Divers
Hotel managers along the east coast have called for tighter controls. Hotel workers have had to close their beaches and assist in the cleanup. The oil slicks have affected tourism which is one of the major planks of the Fujairah growth strategy.
The Diving Companies have reported their concern, not only about the damage to their businesses and tourism generally but the long term (decades) environmental impact on the shore and marine life.
Thus far the UAE police have been impotent and the Fujairah Municipality has only wrung its hands and offered no apparent solutions.
Calls for tighter controls and higher fines have been made in an earlier posting.
The oil and shipping companies need to be levied higher fees for coming into the Fujairah waters to download and upload their cargo. These companies that make millions of dollars must bear the new costs so that more police boats can be purchased and put on 24 hour patrol among the 200 ships and 3,000 people that make up the Fujairah marine precinct.
Dr. Geoff Pound
Image: “so that police boats can be purchased and immediately put on 24 hour patrol.”