Fishermen say Al Naqqa facilities could be better

The 300-berth port in Al Naqqa was opened in September last year with funds allocated by the President, Sheikh Khalifa, to preserve the traditional industry in the Northern Emirates.
Umm al Quwain’s fishermen have given the facilities a mixed review and say more needs to be done. Sarah Dea / The National
Umm al Quwain’s fishermen have given the facilities a mixed review and say more needs to be done. Sarah Dea / The National

UMM AL QUWAIN // It is just over a year since a Dh30 million port was opened, and while the fishermen who sail from the new harbour each day say it is an improvement on the old, they still face problems with refuelling their boats, as well as security and finding basic supplies.

The 300-berth port in Al Naqqa was opened in September last year with funds allocated by the President, Sheikh Khalifa, to preserve the traditional industry in the Northern Emirates.

“It is better in terms of it is a new place and has parking, which is the most important thing as well as easy access to boats, but it has shortages,” said Mansoor Abdulrahman, a 29-year old Emirati fisherman who is from Abu Dhabi and works in UAQ.

“There is no petrol station and Adnoc put a tanker [at the site] but no petrol inside it,” he said. “In addition, we have to travel to get ice.”

Security was also an issue because fishermen vie with tourists and residents, who are warned that their fishing and swimming are prohibited.

Other problems included a lack of lighting on shore, meaning crews have to use their boat’s lights when loading and unloading in the evening or early morning. Mr Abdulrahman also asked for better storage facilities after tools were stolen. Fishing remains the biggest industry in UAQ, with most Emiratis working at sea. The new Al Naqqa port replaces the crumbling old marina that was in service for more than 35 years.

Ali Mohammad said the new port’s entrance was very narrow. In addition, some berths are not deep enough for some boats.

Echoing Mr Abdulrahman’s concerns, he said: “The most important thing that we need here is stores because there is no place for fishermen to keep their tools, so we leave them on the sand.”

The 64-year-old said the lack of ice, petrol and a cafeteria as well as secure stores were a problem.

“There is a petrol tanker that Adnoc put [here] and they will provide us with petrol in future.”

Mohammad Naser, head of engineering at UAQ municipality, said designs had been drawn up to build storerooms for the port but officials were waiting for quotes from contractors before work could begin.

“It will be done at the earliest opportunity because the designs are ready and given to contractors and when we receive price offers from them, we will implement [building them] immediately.”

Mr Naser said fishing boat crews were not allowed to live at the port and the Emirati captains had to house their men in areas allocated for workers.

roueiti@thenational.ae

Published: December 20, 2014 04:00 AM

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