x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Slick-busters will wade into action

Officials say Dubai is at no particular threat of an oil spill, but prefer to be prepared for any eventuality.

Emergency task force members carry out an oil clean-up drill off the coast of Dubai yesterday.
Emergency task force members carry out an oil clean-up drill off the coast of Dubai yesterday.

DUBAI // If a large oil spill occurs in Dubai waters, a special task force is ready to handle the crisis, officials from Dubai Police Pollution Control Centre say.

After training for the past two years, the 30-member task force demonstrated emergency procedures at a Beach Clean-up event yesterday.

The campaign, under the slogan "We Care For Our Shores", will continue until tomorrow next to Jumeirah Beach Park.

Lt Mohammed Matar al Jumairi, manager of the Pollution Control Centre, said the team was co-operating with Dubai Municipality, Emirates Diving Association and international oil industry staff.

"The municipality will get involved if oil reaches the beaches. We have conducted a lot of training together over the past two months and brought experts to train our team," he said.

Patrick Ooi, the task force consultant,has 20 years' experience dealing with oil spills. He said equipment had been brought in from several countries to handle spills.

"We have recovery devices that will skim the oil from the surface into the tanks. We have eight of these tanks that will be placed on the beach in case heavy lorries cannot enter," he said.

"We are saying this is a hypothetical situation for shoreline clean-up. Of course, we will be fighting the oil spill at sea first."

Salah Amiri, the municipality's assistant director-general for environmental and public health services, said: "The main objective is to give a message to the public on how we are going to protect our environment."

The director of the municipality's Waste Management Department, Abdulmajeed Abdulaziz Saifaie, said: "If there is a major oil spill, the UAE is able to handle it. Companies have to clean the tank before they leave the Gulf."

Mr Ooi said oil waste from ships generally leaked in small amounts. In the event of an emergency, the team was ready to respond immediately, he said.

Officials urged beachgoers to dispose of their waste properly and to contact 800-900 if they saw anyone dropping litter. The fine for littering is Dh500.