Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Engineers working on the salvation of the sunken White Whale ship in Umm Al Quwain.
Engineers working on the salvation of the sunken White Whale ship in Umm Al Quwain.

White Whale raised after eight months off UAQ coast

Engineers say wreckage has been lifted after earlier efforts were hampered by bad weather, and ministry team is on site to watch for spills.

UMM AL QUWAIN // The White Whale supply ship that sank in Umm Al Quwain waters eight months ago has finally been salvaged, engineers said last night.

Dubai Ship Building, the company contracted by the Ministry of Environment and Water to bring the ship out, said the salvage work lasted for about eight days.

Earlier attempts had been hindered by weather, the company said.

The engineers tied the ship with ropes and wires, balanced it on the water and finally hauled it out using a larger ship called the Amlak, said Badr bin Mubarak, the managing director of Dubai Ship Building.

"There was some small diesel leakage as the ship came out of water but we managed to control it and everything is now safe and fine," Mr bin Mubarak said.

On Sunday the ship was hauled up five metres from the surface, but a wire snapped and it sank back into the water, he said.

The team had to start the salvaging work over again.

"Our biggest challenge was balancing the ship so it did not break into two parts," Mr bin Mubarak said.

He said the ship, which is owned by Arabian Coast Cargo Services of Ajman, was still at the site last night but was to be carried to one of the country's ports where it will be safely unloaded by the Ministry of Environment and Water.

Mr bin Mubarak said the ship came out of water carrying a total of 450 tonnes of diesel.

It was carrying several hundred tonnes of diesel when it sank 16 kilometres off the Umm Al Quwain coast on October 22.

The ministry did not issue a statement last night.

The minister, Dr Rashid bin Fahad, said this week the salvation work had resumed on Wednesday and the ship was expected to be out of water on Sunday.

"A team of the ministry's marine research center is stationed there to ensure a clean recovery operation without any oil spills," Mr bin Fahad said.

Last week, Hamad bin Mubarak, head of the salvage project, said every effort had been made to ensure the ship's salvaging worked this time.

"We are almost through with tying the wires beneath the ship and just need a good positioning to balance the ship before it is pulled out," Hamad bin Mubarak said.

He and his colleagues are working out of prefabricated offices on a barge next to the salvage rig, where they monitor the progress of divers through video and audio feeds.

Once work to balance the wreck has been completed the ship will be raised.

It was lying about 30 metres below the surface, 11 nautical miles off the coast of UAQ, about 30 minutes by boat.

Divers have on several occasions worked to stop the fuel leaks from the ship.

A number of ships have recently sunk in waters off the Northern Emirates because of bad weather.

In January, the Lady Moon, a 25-metre ship, sank 500 metres off the coast of Hamriya in Sharjah.

She had a storage capacity of between 200 and 250 tonnes of fuel. The ship's five Indian crew members were rescued uninjured.

In February last year two other cargo ships, the Dolphin and Lady Rana, ran aground on Sharjah Beach after technical problems caused by rough weather at sea.

A police spokesman said at the time that the captains of both ships had lost control after the vessels were battered by three-metre waves.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

On our sixth birthday, today’s news told visually

Today in print, we are doing something different: we use only photos, graphics, illustrations and headlines to capture the news in a one-off collector’s edition.

 Rolling out the structure for the set. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Star Wars: Episode VII evidence in Abu Dhabi desert

After more than a week of speculation, The National has what are believed to be the first photos of a Star Wars shoot in the Abu Dhabi desert.

 Amir Khan, during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre on March 24, 2014 in Bolton, England, says his fight will be the real main event in Las Vegas on May 3. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Amir Khan says bout with Luis Collazo ‘will steal the show’ in Las Vegas on May 3

British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan says his fight with Luis Collazo will be the main attraction on same fight card led by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana, writes Omar Al Raisi.

 Hassan Abdullah, who goes by the name Abu Mahmoud, an Emirati fisherman, poses for a portrait at the Al Rughayalat Port. Abu Mahmoud was born and raised in Fujairah city and has been working as a fisherman since 1968. “I’m a shark man”, he says, “I was born in the sea.” Silvia Razgova / The National

In pictures: Fishing communities in the Northern Emirates

Fishermen in Fujairah and Umm Al Qaiwain worry that new regulations to protect fish stocks are harming their trade. We look at both communities through the lens of our photographers.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

 Al Maryah Island will host the 114-hectare Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

In pictures: Al Maryah Island rises in Abu Dhabi

Al Maryah has been chosen as the site for Abu Dhabi’s first financial free zone, the Abu Dhabi Global Market, and construction activity in the island has been at a fast pace.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National