Saddam slick not end of the mop-ups
April 2001: more than a decade of punishing sanctions has crippled the Iraqi economy. And Saddam Hussein has resorted to illegal oil smuggling to keep his flagging regime afloat.
Now many of the vessels used to smuggle this oil down the Arabian Gulf were in poor shape.
One of these vessels was the Georgian-flagged tanker, the Zainab.
It sank close to the port of Jebel Ali, off the coast of Dubai, on April 14, 2001, with about 1,300 tonnes of oil in its hold.
The oil leaked from the ship, triggering an environmental emergency for the UAE. The emirate deployed hundreds of workers, collected thousands of bags of oil-soaked sand and swiftly contained the spill.
In this photograph from April 20, one of the municipality workers is removing oily water close to Port Rashid at the other end of Dubai, illustrating how far the oil slick travelled in just a few days. A digger is also removing the contaminated sand.
Another environmental problem during this time was the practice of oil tankers illegally flushing out their holds into the waters of the Gulf – a problem that continues to this day.
Last month, Fujairah suffered its fourth oil spill in three months because of this, damaging tourism, hurting marine life and preventing hundreds of fishermen from heading out to sea.
Time Frame is a series that opens a window into the nation’s past. Readers are invited to make contributions to [email protected] thenational.ae