Fourth oil spill in three months hits Fujairah

The kilometre-long spill hit Kalba shores on Friday - the second time it has happened off the Sharjah town in just a month.

A kilometre-long spill hit Kalba shores on Friday. Courtesy Kalba Fisherman Association
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FUJAIRAH // A fourth oil spill in three months has hit the east coast of the country, preventing fishermen from taking to the water.

The spills were deliberate, caused by tankers discharging oily ballast water into the sea before going into port, damaging the environment and causing financial losses to fishermen.

The kilometre-long spill hit Kalba shores on Friday - the second time it has happened off the Sharjah town in just a month.

“Fishermen noticed the oil patches on Friday afternoon, and we directly reported the case to the authorities and they took immediate action,” said Ibrahim Yousif, manager of Kalba Fishermen’s Association.

Oil patches had covered Kalba fishing port and about 300 boats were covered with oil.

“Three hundred boats and around 250 fishermen were affected by the spill - the water is still oily and fishing nets were all damaged by the oil along with other fishing tools,” Mr Yousif said.

“Fishing activities have been banned until the water is clear but we are very concerned and worried about the marine life and the fish.”

A 45-year-old fisherman said that tankers should be monitored and penalties implemented.

“This situation will cause environmental damage and affect the fish. Restricted measures should be implemented to minimise and prevent such spills from happening,” said Ali Omran, from Kalba.

“Such spills cost the fishermen a lot of money and some of them can’t afford it. It’s not considered a phenomena any more as it keeps coming every month and the authorities should find a permanent solution for it.”

Another fisherman said that they were still trying to get back to normal from the last spill.

“We are still trying to recover from the last oil spill that covered the area last month. I didn’t go fishing since then as most of my fishing tools were damaged in the previous spill,” said Obeid Al Zaabi, a 63-year-old from Kalba.

“I have four boats docked in the port and they are all covered in oil now - it will cost me Dh500 each for cleaning.

“We need the support of the authorities to overcome our losses and to control the frequent spills as it causes environmental pollution and affects the marine life.”

Mr Al Zaabi said the oil vessels clean their tanks in international waters and the current brings the spill to the coast.

“It should be controlled before it reaches the shores. It moves in the water according to the wind and the current as they direct it and bring it to the coast,” he said.

Sharjah’s Environment and Protected Areas Authority was not available for comment.