An oil slick 12 miles (20 kilometers) wide is no longer threatening an environmentally protected island off the United Arab Emirates, authorities said Sunday, April 8.
The UAE's Federal Environmental Agency was mobilized Wednesday to fight the slick saying it had already caused the deaths of a number of fish and birds around Sri Bu Nair island, off the coast of Sharjah emirate.
However by Sunday an official said there were "no signs of pollution" of the marine environment around the island, but he added in the same statement that "several patches of oil" covered the coastline.
Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al-Midfaa of Sharjah's environmental and protected areas authority said only one bird had been found covered in oil. The slick had reportedly broken up.
The Gulf Today newspaper meanwhile reported that municipal workers had on Saturday cleared a 10-yard (meter) band of oil that washed up along a four-mile (six-kilometer) stretch of beach on the UAE's east coast near Dibba. Again officials reported that neither fish nor birds had been affected.
The fragile marine environment of the Gulf, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, is frequently exposed to oil spills from some of the hundreds of tankers that sail every day from the Gulf Arab states.
The warm waters, home to nesting turtles and the dugong, saw an estimated 240 ships sunk in the two Gulf wars since 1980, many of them oil tankers and warships. — (AFP, Dubai)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)