x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Mall shops open after leak at aquarium

Business was back to normal for shops in Dubai Mall yesterday following a dramatic leak from its giant aquarium that forced some to close.

A Dubai Mall employee said the aquatic zoo was open on the second floor but the rest of the attraction was
A Dubai Mall employee said the aquatic zoo was open on the second floor but the rest of the attraction was "closed for maintenance".

DUBAI // Business was back to normal for shops in Dubai Mall yesterday following a dramatic leak from its giant aquarium that forced some to close. However, the viewing tunnel running through the middle of the 10 million-litre tank remained closed. Shops near the aquarium, which is home to around 33,000 sea creatures, were closed at midday on Thursday after water began spurting from a leak in one of its panels, flooding the concourse.

All the shops were open yesterday. Only the continued closure of the aquarium and a few yellow fans inside its ground-floor observation tunnel suggested there had ever been a problem. "We had no damage to the shop at all," said one shop assistant who works just metres from the tank. "It is all back to normal now." A Dubai Mall staff member said the aquatic zoo was open on the second floor but the rest of the attraction was "closed for maintenance".

Another said the aquarium and the walk-through tunnel would remain closed until experts had investigated the panel joint thought to be responsible for the leak. The inhabitants of the tank, which include 400 sharks, appeared unaffected. Onlookers continued to take pictures of them from the floor of the mall. On Thursday, Shaun Lenehan, a marine expert, said a drop in the water level of an aquarium as large as the one in the mall would not adversely affect the aquatic life.

Peter Brook, the aquarium's design director, was not directly involved in the matter. But, at home in Australia, he said he believed the problem was likely to be a "small issue" related to the chemical seal of the acrylic panel at the joint. This would be a straightforward repair job, he said. The panel manufacturers and staff from the aquarium's installers were believed to be on their way to Dubai.

Since the attraction opened in November 2008, it has boasted the world's largest aquarium window. The window measures 32.8m wide by 8.3m high. It is 75cm thick and weighs more than 245 tonnes. @Email:loatway@thenational.ae