x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

FNC session to question ministers on ship sinking

Measures taken to prevent pollution from sunk White Whale will be high on agenda.

ABU DHABI // Questions on health legislation and the sinking of a ship carrying hundreds of tonnes of diesel will be put to ministers at the next session of the Federal National Council next week.

Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, will be questioned on the sinking of the White Whale off the coast of Umm Al Qaiwain on October 22.

Police said the ship was carrying 1,000 tonnes of diesel - more than twice as much as had been declared - when it sunk while making deliveries to other vessels and oil rigs.

Hamad Al Rahoumi, FNC chairman of the agriculture and fisheries committee, wants to ask the minister about the measures taken to stop the leakage, which was plugged by divers, ministry officials said.

"The question was an automatic reaction as this affects the environment," Mr Al Rahoumi said. "We want to make sure the ministry took all measures necessary to control the leakage on time, and see how much of an effect this has had on the environment."

Mr Al Rahoumi, who is an elected member from Dubai, said it was the council's right to question any minister "at any time we want" and stressed that environmental issues affect all members of society.

Also at Tuesday's session, Ahmed Mohamed Al Ameri, the chairman of the health, labour, and social affairs committee, will ask Abdulrahman Mohamed Al Owais, the recently appointed Minister of Health, about the law establishing a federal health authority.

The council will also give its response to Sheikh Khalifa's opening speech, delivered last month at its first session.

A committee of eight was formed at the first session to formulate the response, as they are constitutionally required to do at the start of every four-year legislative chapter of the council.

So far, all eight committees have met more than once and elected a chairman and members responsible for reports.

Today the FNC speaker, Mohamed Al Mur, will go to Saudi Arabia with three other members and the FNC secretary general, Dr Mohammed Salem Al Mazroui, to meet the speakers of the other GCC parliaments and Shura councils.

They will discuss the possibility of forming a pan-GCC parliament.

Tuesday's session will be open to the public and will start at 8am.

osalem@thenational.ae

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