Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 April 2020

Poor visibility led to Fujairah ship collision, court hears

The vessel collision caused a three-kilometre oil slick formation on Fujairah and Kalba coastline

The captain of a ship blamed the extreme darkness of the night for a collision between two vessels last October near the coast off Fujairah.

The court heard the statements of both the captains of the commercial vessels, accused of causing an oil spill off the shores of Fujairah and Kalba.

It caused diesel to leak into the sea and left a three-kilometre oil slick along the coastline.

"I could not see the other ship due to complete darkness,” the captain told the Fujairah Court of Misdemeanours on Tuesday through a translator.

“The vision was not clear and virtually non-existent due to the lack of adequate ‎lighting,” he said.

The captain admitted he had not taken sufficient measures to prevent the oil spill.

The spill caused Dh14 million in damages and wreaked havoc on the country’s wildlife.

The court ordered hearing of the eyewitnesses who were at Fujairah port at the time of the collision and adjourned the case for more hearing sessions, the Arabic-language newspaper Emarat Al Youm reported.

A separate oil spill in November last year forced some hotels in Al Aqah, Fujairah, to close their facilities. Black oil on rocks and stones was also seen on Dibba beach.

Three years ago, a spate of oil spills off the coast of Sharjah were blamed on tankers deliberately dumping crude-laden ballast water into the sea.

According to Federal Law 24 of 1999, for the protection and development of the environment, all marine means of transportation are prohibited from discharging or disposing of oil or oil mixture into the marine environment, regardless of their nationality or registration status in the UAE.

Any person who violates the law shall be punished by imprisonment and a fine not less than Dh150.000 and not exceeding Dh1 million.

Updated: February 19, 2020 03:35 PM

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