Ship sunk off UAQ to be lifted after tomorrow

UMM AL QUWAIN — The ‘White Whale’ vessel which sank off the Umm Al Quwain coasts over two months ago may be lifted after January 21, provided the weather conditions get better.

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Published: Sat 21 Jan 2012, 12:25 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:48 PM

According to a senior official here, the unstable sea and weather can make it unsafe and sometimes even impossible to drag the sunken vessel to the shore.

“The sunken ship will remain deep in the sea until after January 21 for the company specialised in lifting sunken vessels to work in better and safer weather conditions,” said Captain Ali Redwan, Chairman of the board, Dubai Ship Building and Engineering.

“The ‘giant’ ship, along with some other smaller ships, shall then be able to properly drag the White Whale to the shore,” he added. On October 22 last year, the 43-metre-long Iranian supply ship sank 11 nautical miles off the Umm Al Quwain Coast, 35 metres deep into the sea, laden with over 1,000 tonnes of diesel.

On November 16, 2011, Dr Mariam Al Shenasi, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment and Water, affirmed that expert divers had blocked the leaking notch and stopped diesel fuel from leaking out of the engine room as part of a three-phase retrieval plan.

Though the leak was small, the diesel spill had spread over an area of around half a mile in diametre, 2,500 degrees eastside the sunken ship, basically due to the rough seas and unstable weather conditions.

Specialists and divers from the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority, UAE Coast Guard, UAQ Police, National Transport Authority, and UAQ Municipality, are very closely following up the recovery process of the sunken vessel.

While the nine-member crew of the vessel, all of whom were rescued by fishermen from Ras Al Khaimah, were arrested, the Ministry of Environment and Water referred the case to the attorney general for legal action.

As per the Federal Law No (24) on the environment protection and development, the owner of a ship, which causes or is involved in any environmental pollution or risks, shall bear all rising charges and expenses.“The owner of the vessel has to pay the recovery costs irrespective of whether they are high or very high. The law is very stringent in this regard for the safety and protection of the environment,” Khaleej Times had earlier cited Dr Shenasi as saying.

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