Illegal Oily Waste Dumping from Tanker Linked to Fujairah Coast Line Pollution

Monday March 20, 2017

Government officials have confirmed that oily waste from vessel bunker storage has been linked to an oil pollution that affected two kilometres of Fujairah coastline last Monday, local media reports.

"Oil tankers illegally washing their storage tanks and dumping the waste in international waters was the reason for the oil spill," said Hassan Al Yamahi, Director of the Dibba Municipality, adding: "our team managed to clear the area and discharge the waste safely."

Oil pollution at Al Aqah beach is said to have been cleaned in under 24 hours.

Dr. Saif Al Ghais, a marine scientist and executive director of Ras Al Khaimah Environment Protection and Development Authority (RAK EPDA) suggests a number of tankers wash their fuel tanks at sea in order to avoid costs to do so legally.

"Some vessels choose to wash their tanks illegally to not pay the washing fees at the port; they might do it in international ­waters and the current drags it to the beach," said Dr. Saif Al Ghais, a marine scientist and executive director of Ras Al Khaimah Environment Protection and Development Authority (RAK EPDA).

"If they manage to take a sample from the oil they could analyse it and trace it back to the country of origin and find out which tanker did it."

While monitoring tankers within 12 nautical miles is the responsibility of the applicable port and coastguard, Al Ghais says a lack of a satellite system makes monitoring at night difficult.

"Dumping such substances into the water is illegal and should be monitored and investigated," said Al Ghais.

"Penalties are available and rules are clear and strict, but adding a law that obligates ships to provide a certificate from other ports if they arrive without having any oily liquid sediment in their fuel area, implying that it has been cleaned should be fundamental."