DUBAI // Eighty five cases of diesel fuel smuggling were uncovered in the UAE last year, the Federal Traffic Council announced on Tuesday.
The council said there were 48 cases recorded in Abu Dhabi, 11 in Dubai, 15 in Ajman, five in Sharjah and six in Ras Al Khaimah.
“Those who smuggle hazardous material will face a variety of consequences,” said Maj Gen Mohammed Al Zafeen, director of Dubai Police Traffic Department. “They will be charged with transporting hazardous material without a licence.”
In some cases diesel fuel was smuggled from one emirate to another, and in others, to other countries.
He said those who are caught smuggling hazardous material can face time in jail if they put people’s lives in danger and/or pay a fine of Dh30,000.
“They will definitely face prison time if they have put the lives of innocent people in danger by transporting hazardous material,” said Maj Gen Al Zafeen.
He added that gangs that smuggle diesel will be charged with transporting flammable material in vehicles that are not equipped.
Depending on the court ruling, Maj Gen Al Zafeen said smugglers using unequipped vehicles will have to pay fines ranging from Dh5,000 to as much as Dh50,000.
He said there is an ongoing cooperation between various UAE authorities and petrol stations, which, he added, often report licence plate numbers of vehicles they suspected are involved in smuggling fuel.
“The preliminary steps taken are based on suspicion – when smugglers fill up a number of tanks with petrol in their vehicle, it is suspicious,” said Maj Gen Al Zafeen, adding that when an unequipped car is carrying many fuel-filled tanks, the vehicle looks heavier.
“The danger here is if there were to be an accident,” he said. “An accident with so much fuel in the car could be disastrous and result in the deaths of innocent people.”