Sailing club regains teaching licence

The municipality says it would arrange talks between the club and Dubai Police to fix the illegal dumping after Ramadan.

DUBAI-SEPTEMBER 13,2008 - Oil spill pollute the water of Dubai Offshore Sailing Club in Jumeira beach road ,Dubai. ( Paulo Vecina/The National ) *** Local Caption ***  PV Oil 13.JPG
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DUBAI // Dubai's internationally renowned sailing club has regained its teaching licence but had to delay its latest regatta because of illegally dumped sewage in its harbour. The Dubai Offshore Sailing Club lost its Royal Yachting Association (RYA) accreditation following an inspection last Wednesday. Association officials have now given the club back its teaching licence - but with conditions.

The club's sailing manager will now decide if the sailing lessons can resume. Several sailing classes have been either cancelled or delayed by the club, which caters to up to 100 people a week. "This is the first time we had to deal with something like this. We now have a provisional licence to teach sailing and we have to send a water sample to the RYA when it is clean to regain full accreditation," said Keith Mutch, the club's manager. "All the paperwork and boats were perfect for passing but on the day of the inspection, the RYA said they could not let us go ahead because of the water's poor quality. The following day, they said it was up to us to allow classes or not depending on the quality of water."

The club delayed a regatta on Saturday due to the sewage that pumps out to sea from a storm drain located at the end of its pier. "I've never seen the water so black. The regatta was supposed to start at midday, but the water only cleared by 3pm," said Mr Mutch. Nevertheless, there appears to have been some progress towards solving the problem. Municipality officials have visited the club to evaluate the extent of the pollution and meetings have been set up to combat the problem.

The municipality had previously said it would arrange talks between the club and Dubai Police and the Roads and Transport Authority to fix the illegal dumping, but only after the end of Ramadan. The club's harbour, which sits near one of four pipes that carry storm water out to sea, has been flooded with brown, stinking sewage since an increase in illegal dumping. The dumping is thought to take place in Al Quz industrial area at night.

It is believed that sewage tankers are tipping their loads into one of the pipes. The club has already banned swimming but the waste also washes onto a nearby public beach and has made several people sick. Club officials have received several complaints of skin rashes, ear infections and stomach upsets.