Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

The man who saves turtles while keeping Abu Dhabi's ports clean

Meet Captain Saleh Ba Abbad, who leads efforts to save turtles weighed down by barnacles during his daily sweep of the seas

As head of the oil spill response team at Abu Dhabi Ports, Capt Saleh Ba Abbad's task is to ensure the pristine waters of Abu Dhabi's 10 ports across are kept that way.

He and his team of 14 people pull plastic, abandoned fishing nets, debris and animals from the sea - sometimes even rescuing humans.

The team collected a staggering 120 tonnes of floating sea debris across all 10 ports last year alone. At least 10 tonnes was recycled.

Over the past two months, the team has found three dead turtles while four were rescued and released back into the water.

The injured turtles they find often have barnacles growing on their shells. The barnacles are a sign of sickness, indicating that the turtle is unable to scrape them off its back itself.

They can weigh the turtles down, stopping them from getting to the surface to breathe and leading them to drown.

So Capt Abbad’s team takes the turtle, cleans the shell and returns it to the water.

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Updated: April 3, 2019 02:16 PM

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