A hotel guest is covered with oil after a spill washed ashore near Fujairah’s Snoopy island.
A hotel guest is covered with oil after a spill washed ashore near Fujairah’s Snoopy island.

Third oil spill in Fujairah in two months leaves hoteliers fuming



FUJAIRAH // Hoteliers on the coast of Fujairah fear for the future of their businesses after a third oil spill in recent weeks.

They say tankers deliberately dumping their oily ballast water into the sea is affecting tourism and they are losing out on thousands of dirhams – not to mention the environmental effects.

Hotel bookings and diving tours were cancelled over the weekend in most of the hotels in Al Aqah because of the spill, which follows one last month in Kalba, on Sharjah’s east coast, and another in Al Aqah in March.

“Our estimated loss during the weekend could reach Dh80,000 as many guests cancelled their booking after hearing the news about the oil spill,” said Joseph Abou Dib, manager of Sandy Beach Hotel and Resort in Al Aqah.

“People were covered in black oil and we immediately closed the beach when it first appeared about 2pm on Thursday.”

The 2 kilometre-long spill forced beaches to be closed in all the hotels and dead fish lay on the shores.

“Hotel occupancy went down to 60 per cent and we are badly affected. It’s the second time this year and we don’t want this to affect tourism in the area,” Mr Abou Dib said.

Hotel staff and municipality workers started to clean the shores on Thursday afternoon and continued until Friday morning.

“Half of the beach was cleared on Friday by about 10am and guests were swimming cautiously,” Mr Abou Dib said.

The general manager of the Miramar hotel said the oil brought with it a foul odour.

“A very bad smell reached all the way to the lobby,” Ashraf Helmy said. “The beach was closed on Thursday and swimming was allowed with caution on Friday and Saturday.

“We had about 780 guests and they were all in the pool area and most of them were unhappy with the situation. We tried to offer discounts and complimentary meals but many had cancelled their stay.

“There should be more observation and penalties on the vessels that commit such acts. We have unique diving spots and it’s considered one of the best getaways for many.”

Experts had said that it could prove almost impossible to trace the source of the spills because of the volume of sea traffic and complex tides.

Many water activities were halted, leaving divers disappointed.

“Getting the customers in and out of the boat from the beach was difficult as the oil was covering the area,” said Michela Colella, operations manager of Divers Down Centre in Al Aqah.

“The water was clear under the surface but when you go out of water you will be covered in oil and that damaged our diving suit.

“Five people cancelled their appointments and we did our best to keep the rest but it wasn’t easy. We hope that the marine life won’t be affected by this.”

Dr Saif Al Ghais, a marine scientist and executive director of Ras Al Khaimah Environment Protection and Development Authority, said during an earlier spill that dumping such substances was illegal.

“It should be monitored and investigated,” Dr Al Ghais said. “The effect may vary depending on the oil classification. Light crude oil causes less damage than heavy crude oil, which creates tar, but both can affect surface marine species and birds.

“If the oil reaches the beach, it may also cause harm to the microscopic creatures and other species that live on the sand near the water, such as small worms and seashells.”

rhaza@thenational.ae

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Where to donate in the UAE

The Emirates Charity Portal

You can donate to several registered charities through a “donation catalogue”. The use of the donation is quite specific, such as buying a fan for a poor family in Niger for Dh130.

The General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments

The site has an e-donation service accepting debit card, credit card or e-Dirham, an electronic payment tool developed by the Ministry of Finance and First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Al Noor Special Needs Centre

You can donate online or order Smiles n’ Stuff products handcrafted by Al Noor students. The centre publishes a wish list of extras needed, starting at Dh500.

Beit Al Khair Society

Beit Al Khair Society has the motto “From – and to – the UAE,” with donations going towards the neediest in the country. Its website has a list of physical donation sites, but people can also contribute money by SMS, bank transfer and through the hotline 800-22554.

Dar Al Ber Society

Dar Al Ber Society, which has charity projects in 39 countries, accept cash payments, money transfers or SMS donations. Its donation hotline is 800-79.

Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares provides several options for individuals and companies to donate, including online, through banks, at retail outlets, via phone and by purchasing Dubai Cares branded merchandise. It is currently running a campaign called Bookings 2030, which allows people to help change the future of six underprivileged children and young people.

Emirates Airline Foundation

Those who travel on Emirates have undoubtedly seen the little donation envelopes in the seat pockets. But the foundation also accepts donations online and in the form of Skywards Miles. Donated miles are used to sponsor travel for doctors, surgeons, engineers and other professionals volunteering on humanitarian missions around the world.

Emirates Red Crescent

On the Emirates Red Crescent website you can choose between 35 different purposes for your donation, such as providing food for fasters, supporting debtors and contributing to a refugee women fund. It also has a list of bank accounts for each donation type.

Gulf for Good

Gulf for Good raises funds for partner charity projects through challenges, like climbing Kilimanjaro and cycling through Thailand. This year’s projects are in partnership with Street Child Nepal, Larchfield Kids, the Foundation for African Empowerment and SOS Children's Villages. Since 2001, the organisation has raised more than $3.5 million (Dh12.8m) in support of over 50 children’s charities.

Noor Dubai Foundation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Noor Dubai Foundation a decade ago with the aim of eliminating all forms of preventable blindness globally. You can donate Dh50 to support mobile eye camps by texting the word “Noor” to 4565 (Etisalat) or 4849 (du).

Bharatanatyam

A ancient classical dance from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Intricate footwork and expressions are used to denote spiritual stories and ideas.

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Company profile


Name: Khodar
Based: Cairo and Alexandria, in Egypt
Founders: Ayman Hamza, Yasser Eidrous and Amr El Sheikh
Sector: agriculture technology
Funding: $500,000
Investors: Saudi Arabia’s Revival Lab and others
Employees: 35

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

Dominic Rubin, Oxford

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor cricket in a nutshell
Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sept 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side
8 There are eight players per team
9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.
5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls
4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.

Zones

A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs
B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run
C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs
D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

Three ways to boost your credit score

Marwan Lutfi says the core fundamentals that drive better payment behaviour and can improve your credit score are:

1. Make sure you make your payments on time;

2. Limit the number of products you borrow on: the more loans and credit cards you have, the more it will affect your credit score;

3. Don't max out all your debts: how much you maximise those credit facilities will have an impact. If you have five credit cards and utilise 90 per cent of that credit, it will negatively affect your score.

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


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