x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Barge grounded in storms is being broken up for scrap

It was one of more than eight similar vessels, in addition to five ships and six tugboats, that were swept out to sea or on to land in storms in April.

:Workers on Monday dismantle the barges that were brought on the shores of Sharjah waters by the bad weather.
:Workers on Monday dismantle the barges that were brought on the shores of Sharjah waters by the bad weather.

SHARJAH // A barge that ran aground on the Sharjah corniche in rough seas in April is being dismantled where it came ashore.

The slow work of cutting up the barge, which has been stuck in sand for four months, is being carried out by ATM Industries, a company that specialises in repairing and scrapping ships in Hamriya Free Zone.

"This barge got into an accident in the water and came on the shore," said Mohammed Zahir, the managing director of the company. "In all instances of similar accidents, it's 99 per cent sure the barge cannot go back to the water."

Mr Zahir's company bought the barge from its previous owner.

"The authorities from Sharjah Port gave us 55 days to complete this work, we started on May 22 and are likely to be through by July 28," said Mr Zahir. Mr Zahir did not reveal the costs involved in dismantling the barge, or the value of the metal his company hopes to recover, but said the process was safe as the barge did not contain any hazardous material.

An official from the Sharjah Ports Authority confirmed that ATM Industries had been authorised to cut the stricken barge into scrap after meeting all safety requirements.

The barge was carrying large amounts of sand to be dumped at sea when it encountered rough weather.

It was one of more than eight similar vessels, in addition to five ships and six tugboats, that were swept out to sea or on to land in storms in April.

The Northern Emirates was hit hard by the bad weather, with winds whipping up waves as high as 4.5 metres. Almost all the vessels affected were safely recovered and returned to port once the weather calmed.

The White Whale, which sank off the coast of Umm Al Quwain in similar bad weather eight months ago, was recently salvaged at a cost of Dh4.5 million.

ykakande@thenational.ae