[IWAR] UAE desalination plant shut

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Thu Jan 15 1998 - 11:06:41 PST

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                   Oil spill shuts down UAE water desalination plants
          Copyright ) 1998 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1998 Reuters
       DUBAI (January 13, 1998 12:19 p.m. EST http://www.nando.net) - A
       spreading oil slick from a sunken barge off the United Arab Emirates has
       forced the Gulf Arab state to close two desalination plants that provide
       vital drinking water, local newspapers reported on Tuesday.
       Fuel oil that escaped from the 11,000-ton-capacity barge after it sank
       in high winds on Wednesday had prompted the emirates of Sharjah and
       Ajman to each close a desalination plant to prevent oil seeping into the
       local water supply.
       "Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority announced tonight that it was
       stopping all water desalination units at the al-Liyya water and power
       generating plant," the official UAE news agency WAM reported late on
       Al-Liyya provides roughly half of the emirate's daily water consumption
       of 40 million gallons, newspapers said.
       Sharjah, with a population of around 500,000, is one of the seven
       emirates that make up the UAE, a major OPEC oil producer.
       Residents in parts of the emirate said their domestic water supplies had
       been cut off.
       "I went out and bought jerrycans to store water in case the water
       shortage hits our part of town," a Sharjah resident said.
       The al-Zawra desalination plant in Ajman emirate was again closed on
       Monday as a precaution as the slick threatened to contaminate water to
       the 90,000 people living in the area.
       The spill from the barge now threatens more than 80 km (50 miles),
       running from Dubai to the northern coastal tip of the UAE at Ras al
       Khaimah emirate.
       UAE officials involved in the clean-up were reported by WAM news agency
       as saying that the slick was now threatening a parkland beach area on
       the coast of Dubai emirate, the second largest UAE emirate.
       Dubai Petroleum Company had taken precautions after aerial surveys
       indicated that the oil slick was moving in the direction of Mamzar in
       Dubai, WAM reported.
       A team of 10 divers managed on Monday to seal most of the leaks from the
       barge, which is sitting on the bottom of the Gulf at a depth of 20
       meters (66 feet), diving sources said.
       Heavy pools of black oil have hit local tourist beaches and resulted in
       the death of local marine and bird life including cormorants and sea
       snakes. Fishing grounds have been affected.
       The sunken barge was designed to carry dry cargo, not oil.
       UAE newspapers said the owners of the barge had been arrested, but did
       not give any details.

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