Sad­dam slick not end of the mop-ups

The National - News - The Review - - Timeframe -

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.

John Den­nehy

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

Kam­ran Je­breili / AP Photo

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