Two Dubai beaches open after oil slick reported

Kite and Nessnass beaches clear on Wednesday after red flags a day earlier

A purple flag was raised at Kite Beach on Wednesday. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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A popular stretch of Dubai's coastline was open as usual on Wednesday after an apparent oil slick kept swimmers out of the water a day earlier.

Bathers said they had oily water on their feet and swimsuits after entering the sea on Tuesday.

The contamination appeared to be isolated to a small strip of Kite Beach and Nessnass Beach, where red flags were up for a period on Tuesday.

Dubai Municipality officials on Wednesday said the water was safe and open for use and that beaches were clean.

One resident posted a video of oily water at Nessnass Beach in Jumeirah on Tuesday where red flags were up.

Others on a Facebook group also said they witnessed a change in the water, with one saying their feet and clothes were covered in oil.

The sea appeared black, with a strong, unpleasant smell, they wrote.

Purple flags were up for a time on Wednesday, which signals jellyfish or other marine creatures are close to the shore. The seawater appeared to be clear.

Oil spills are relatively common in the Arabian Gulf, a busy waterway packed with commercial vessels.

In 2020, officials said they would penalise ships whose captains rinsed out oily ballast water off the UAE coast, after a series of incidents off Fujairah and Sharjah's Kalba region.

Earlier this year, environmental officials in Abu Dhabi reassured residents that the Raha Beach area was safe and clean after algal bloom changed the colour of the water.

Algal bloom and sea debris carried by waves into the bay happens at certain times of the year and is not regarded as pollution, they said.

Updated: December 27, 2023, 3:38 PM