The Lady Rana lies on the Sharjah Corniche, along with parts of the Sea Mermid. The two merchant ships are destined to be carved up into scrap metal, as their ravaged hulls leave no hope of salvage.
The Lady Rana lies on the Sharjah Corniche, along with parts of the Sea Mermid. The two merchant ships are destined to be carved up into scrap metal, as their ravaged hulls leave no hope of salvage.

Salvage companies get to work on grounded vessels

SHARJAH // For months they have been grounded at the sea's edge, two merchant ships that have fascinated walkers, children playing on the sand and many curious passers-by.
The Sea Mermid and the Lady Rana became Sharjah's newest sightseeing attractions in February when, within days of each other, their captains grounded them side by side on the Corniche beach to stop them breaking up in fierce storms.
Word spread quickly and soon hundreds of people were flocking to gaze at the vessels. The traffic on the adjoining Al Muntazah Street slowed to a crawl as drivers craned their necks to take in the scene.
Gradually, as the novelty wore off, the crowds melted away and the flow of cars returned to normal.
Now the stretch of beach is again a hive of activity, as a team of 25 salvage specialists have moved in and begun the task of breaking up the vessels for scrap metal.
They started with the Sea Mermid, but before they could slice her up with oxyacetylene torches they had to move the hulk out of the water and up the beach. This was a tricky operation involving divers, a giant balloon and a powerful winch.
"The major job was to pull the ship. It took nine days," said Ahmad al Saadi, the marketing manager of the Sharjah salvage company SMJ, which is carrying out the work for the Sharjah Port Authority.
"You have to dive under the ship and it takes time. We put a balloon under the ship, then we put in air and float the ship and then we pull it with the winch."
"It'll take another two weeks to cut it up. We've already started work on the Lady Rana. There are men inside removing wooden fittings, then we'll have to pull it and cut it up. It'll take another month."
Mr al Saadi said the hulls had been cut open in a number of places as the vessels were pushed over rocks by powerful waves, and it had not been possible to repair and salvage them.
The Sea Mermid, a 2,326-tonne oil tanker under the UAE flag, was driven towards shore on February 4 after it had been moored off the coast. It came to rest on the shoreline and police and coastguard officers helped the crew to safety.
Then, on February 12, it was joined by the Lady Rana, a 2,822-tonne cargo vessel, which sailed under the Panamanian flag. The ship struck rocks as it was battered by winds gusting at 54kph amid three-metre swells. Again the crew were led to safety by the coastguard.
Suresh Pillai, the manager of the Dana Beach Hotel, which overlooks the scene, recalled the night the Sea Mermid appeared.
"There was a very big noise like a blast around 2.30am when everyone was sleeping," Mr Pillai said. "Everyone was woken up. We went outside and saw the boat just as the police arrived, so were not allowed to go near it. The police blocked off the road to traffic.
"In the following days so many people came to see it and take photographs. All the locals and families came, hundreds of people at a time. We had a good view from the roof.
"Then 10 days later the same thing happened with the second boat, again at about the same time. It was extraordinary to see the second one."
Nissrin Halfya, a receptionist at a nearby clinic, described the day she turned up for work and saw the Sea Mermid stranded on the rocks.
"It was rather surprising to see it coming in from the sea - and when the second one appeared I thought, 'is there a gathering, are a lot of boats coming here?'" Ms Halfya said.
But she added that, even though the ships had become such an established part of the local scene, she would not miss them when they were removed. "It's good they're not leaving them, I'm glad they are going - it will tidy the beach up."
One person who will be sorry to see the vessels go is Alexander McNabb, the director of a public relations company who has written about them on his Fake Plastic Souk s blog. The stretch of beach is at the end of his road.
"I think I'll miss them in an odd way, just because they've been part of the scenery," Mr McNabb said. "You get quite used to them. I've never seen the like, storms doing that twice to shipping and leaving them less than 100 metres apart.
"They were a huge public draw. They put police there because people had been clambering about on the boats. It's not every day you see ships like that."


Director: Lee Cronin
Stars: Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Lily Sullivan
Rating: 5/5


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

The specs

Engine: 4-cylinder 2-litre
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Power: 252 brake horsepower
Torque: 352Nm
Price: from Dh146,700
On sale: now

The specs: 2018 Audi RS5

Price, base: Dh359,200

Engine: 2.9L twin-turbo V6

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 450hp at 5,700rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 1,900rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 8.7L / 100km

How green is the expo nursery?

Some 400,000 shrubs and 13,000 trees in the on-site nursery

An additional 450,000 shrubs and 4,000 trees to be delivered in the months leading up to the expo

Ghaf, date palm, acacia arabica, acacia tortilis, vitex or sage, techoma and the salvadora are just some heat tolerant native plants in the nursery

Approximately 340 species of shrubs and trees selected for diverse landscape

The nursery team works exclusively with organic fertilisers and pesticides

All shrubs and trees supplied by Dubai Municipality

Most sourced from farms, nurseries across the country

Plants and trees are re-potted when they arrive at nursery to give them room to grow

Some mature trees are in open areas or planted within the expo site

Green waste is recycled as compost

Treated sewage effluent supplied by Dubai Municipality is used to meet the majority of the nursery’s irrigation needs

Construction workforce peaked at 40,000 workers

About 65,000 people have signed up to volunteer

Main themes of expo is  ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and three subthemes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

Expo 2020 Dubai to open in October 2020 and run for six months

Tips for holiday homeowners

There are several factors for landlords to consider when preparing to establish a holiday home:

  • Revenue potential of the unit: location, view and size
  • Design: furnished or unfurnished. Is the design up to standard, while being catchy at the same time?
  • Business model: will it be managed by a professional operator or directly by the owner, how often does the owner wants to use it for personal reasons?
  • Quality of the operator: guest reviews, customer experience management, application of technology, average utilisation, scope of services rendered

Source: Adam Nowak, managing director of Ultimate Stay Vacation Homes Rental

The specs: 2018 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Price, base / as tested Dh99,000 / Dh132,000

Engine 3.6L V6

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Power 275hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque 350Nm @ 3,700rpm

Fuel economy combined 12.2L / 100km

FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21. 


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

'Nightmare Alley'

Director:Guillermo del Toro

Stars:Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara

Rating: 3/5


Euro 2020 qualifier

Fixture: Liechtenstein v Italy, Tuesday, 10.45pm (UAE)

TV: Match is shown on BeIN Sports

The specs: 2019 GMC Yukon Denali

Price, base: Dh306,500
Engine: 6.2-litre V8
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Power: 420hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 621Nm @ 4,100rpm​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Fuel economy, combined: 12.9L / 100km

Why it pays to compare

A comparison of sending Dh20,000 from the UAE using two different routes at the same time - the first direct from a UAE bank to a bank in Germany, and the second from the same UAE bank via an online platform to Germany - found key differences in cost and speed. The transfers were both initiated on January 30.

Route 1: bank transfer

The UAE bank charged Dh152.25 for the Dh20,000 transfer. On top of that, their exchange rate margin added a difference of around Dh415, compared with the mid-market rate.

Total cost: Dh567.25 - around 2.9 per cent of the total amount

Total received: €4,670.30 

Route 2: online platform

The UAE bank’s charge for sending Dh20,000 to a UK dirham-denominated account was Dh2.10. The exchange rate margin cost was Dh60, plus a Dh12 fee.

Total cost: Dh74.10, around 0.4 per cent of the transaction

Total received: €4,756

The UAE bank transfer was far quicker – around two to three working days, while the online platform took around four to five days, but was considerably cheaper. In the online platform transfer, the funds were also exposed to currency risk during the period it took for them to arrive.

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi

Director: Kangana Ranaut, Krish Jagarlamudi

Producer: Zee Studios, Kamal Jain

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Ankita Lokhande, Danny Denzongpa, Atul Kulkarni

Rating: 2.5/5

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