Desalination Plant in UAE’s Sharjah Shut as Spilled Oil Approaches
The Al Liyya Water Desalination Plant in UAE’s Sharjah was temporarily shut down on Monday to protect the sea inlets of the plant from the oil slick which has reached the emirate's beaches from the sunken tanker Zainab, reported the Gulf News.
A spokesman at the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) said that the plant was shut down after small patches of oil were spotted in the area near the plant's sea inlets.
"This is a temporary, precautionary measure until the oil slick is fully treated," the spokesman said.
The spokesman added that Sewa had taken precautions to protect the desalination plant following news that the vessel sank. "We are also cooperating with the local and federal authorities to ensure that the oil slick is dealt with as soon as possible," the spokesman said.
The plant will be reopened only when the authority is sure that there are no oil patches near the plant's water intakes. The Al Liyya Water Desalination Plant produces 23 million gallons of water per day. Its full daily capacity, however, is 27.5 million gallons, said the paper.
"The total desalinated water output in the emirate is 60 million gallons per day," said the spokesman. The Zulal Drinking Water Factory, which is part of Sewa, will also be closed.
DUBAI INTENSIFIES EFFORTS TO CONTROL OIL SLICK
Dubai has intensified its efforts to clean a 30-mile long oil slick which is threatening the emirate’s beaches, the same paper reported.
The slick, from a sunken sanctions busting Iraqi cargo ship, is expected to come ashore on beaches stretching from Al Sufouh to Jumeirah in the emirate, said the paper.
300 tons of oil leaked on Saturday from the ship before divers were able to seal the holes from which it was leaking.
There are fears that a 30-mile long oil slick may hit Dubai's beaches on Tuesday, said the paper.
The oil which was being blown towards the hotel-lined coast was from a sanctions-busting Iraqi tanker which sank off Jebel Ali after being intercepted by the US navy.
Small quantities of oil from the Zainab began washing up on beaches on Monday as it emerged that the vessel could have been carrying considerably more than the reported 1,300 tons of oil.
Shipping sources told the Gulf News that it was highly likely that the Zainab had been equipped with a minimum of four concealed compartments to carry oil in addition to the main storage area. The sources said that the Zainab could have been carrying as much as 3,000 tons of oil.
As the clean up got underway the Marine Environment Monitoring Unit of Dubai Municipality took samples of the water along the coastline, especially in sensitive areas, to analyze it for pollutants and to determine the extent of damage control required, according to the paper – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)