Three-kilometre oil spill reported on Sharjah beach

Municipality dispatches cleaners after oil is washes up along a three-kilometre area in Khor Fakkan

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An oil slick was reported along the coast of Khor Fakkan in Sharjah on Monday.

The spill washed up over a three-kilometre stretch between Luluyah and Zubara public beaches.

The environmental hazard was reported to Khor Fakkan Municipality, which assembled a team including members from Beeah, an environmental management company, to clean up the beach.

“We received a report about the oil spill and a team of 50 people will be working on cleaning up both Luluyah and Zubara beaches,” said Fawzia Al Qadi, director of the municipality.

Oil washes ashore along a beach in Khor Fakkan in late June. Courtesy: Khor Fakkan Municipality
Oil washes ashore along a beach in Khor Fakkan in late June. Courtesy: Khor Fakkan Municipality

Ms Al Qadi said that the clean-up process began Monday and is expected to be completed by Tuesday.

“We don’t know the reason behind it, but there is a high possibility that the oil was dumped by tankers into the water,” she said.

Ms Al Qadi said it was is not the first time oil has washed up onshore on the east coast with the most recent incident occurring five months ago.

A resident of the area, who shared a video of the spill online said he noticed trails of black sludge enveloping the sand at Luluyah beach.

“I noticed the oil on the sand at 7am and the smell in the area was bad similar to the fuel smell,” said Khaled Al Rayssi, who runs a Khor Fakkan news Instagram account.

“The colour of the water near the shore was dark and the oil was coming out of the water and settling on the sand,” he said.

Oil spills on the east coast happen several times a year. Last March, campers shared videos of Al Aqah coastline in Fujairah covered with black oil that washed ashore.

The oil covered around 1.5 kilometres of the beach and reached some of the hotels next to the public beach camping site.

Two captains of commercial vessels are currently accused of causing an oil spill off the shores of Fujairah and Kalba in October last year, after their vessels collided. The crash caused diesel to leak into the sea and left a 3km oil slick along the coastline.

The following month, an oil spill on Al Aqah beach forced some hotels to close their facilities as patches of sticky tar were seen stretching along the beach.

Oil spills have a number of detrimental effects on the environment and economy. They damage waterways and marine life and can affect tourism when hotels are forced to close beaches.