x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Port back to work after dust hold-up

It was business as usual, though at a slower pace, at Jebel Ali port yesterday after days of disruption caused by dust storms.

DUBAI // It was business as usual, though at a slower pace, at Jebel Ali port yesterday after days of disruption caused by dust storms. Port managers suspended operations on Saturday after visibility became dangerously poor. More than 20 vessels were reported to have been in anchorage, waiting for a berth, on Sunday when operations resumed amid heightened safety measures, including extra tugboats. About 45 vessels were guided slowly into the dock yesterday as the dust lingered.

An official at the port's marine control section said that although visibility remained "heavily dusty", operations could not be kept on hold for too long. Traffic was running "one-way" into the port and vessels were being anchored, then "very slowly" brought into berth, he said. Jebel Ali is a key export terminal for refined petroleum products. The port operator DP World said: "Visibility continues to be an issue, but operations continue, albeit more slowly than usual."

In Abu Dhabi, the Jebel Dhanna terminal, from which Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) exports its crude oil, has been closed since Friday because of the dust storms and high sea swells. Qatar's three main exporting facilities were forced to shut down during the weekend because of poor visibility. Oil exports from Saudi Arabia's Ras Tanura, the world's largest offshore oil facility, continued as normal despite "foggy weather", a port source said.

loatway@thenational.ae * With additional reporting from Reuters