x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Ministry of Environment files legal case against owner of White Whale

The ministry is seeking compensation for damage caused to the environment when diesel fuel leaked from the ship after it sank seven months ago.

The Ministry of Environment and Water has filed a legal case against the owner of the White Whale that was salvaged last week off the coast of Umm Al Quwain.

The ministry is seeking compensation for damage caused to the environment when diesel fuel leaked from the ship after it sank seven months ago.

Dr Mariam Al Shanassi, the interim undersecretary of the ministry, told Al Ittihad newspaper: "We have begun legal proceedings against the owner of the ship that was retrieved two days ago.

"The case has been filed at the relevant general prosecution and the ministry has put together a complete file on the ship and the environmental damages it caused as well as the ministry's demands."

Ms Al Shanassi said diesel leaking from the White Whale, which is owned by Arabian Coast Cargo Services of Ajman, caused environmental pollution covering three kilometres.

The ship was carrying 440 tonnes of diesel when it sank about 16 kilometres off the UAQ coast on October 25 last year. The five Indian crew members were rescued uninjured.

Local fishermen reported at the time seeing fuel leaking from the vessel into the Arabian Gulf and were worried how any pollution would impact fish stocks in the area.

The ship, which was lying about 30 metres below the surface, 11 nautical miles off the coast, was finally raised last Thursday after earlier attempts had been hindered by bad weather.

Engineers on board a larger ship called the Amlak used fixed ropes and wires to haul it out of the water, said Badr bin Mubarak, the managing director of Dubai Ship Building.

As part of the case, the ship's owner is required to pay all the costs to clean up the fuel and other damage caused to the environment

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