8 May 2007

Off the beach at Umm Suqeim

Before we again left Dubai for Germany, we were walking Umm Suqeim beach every morning at 7am, enjoying the exercise but not the ever-increasing pollution, and watching the offshore goings-on.

A few weeks ago, a wall was erected along the beach and a company statement from Zabeel Investments announced a 4.5 million square foot project development - much to the collective horror of local and expat residents.

Thankfully, Sheikh Mohammed stepped in and stopped the work - according to sources at Gulf News.

The wall came down, but the activity offshore has not ceased - neither have the onshore offices, (erected on the beach at the port end), been taken away.

In his blog, Life in Dubai, Seabee has been commenting on the whole affair, and recently mentioned the offshore activity still happening at Umm Suqeim Beach.

The tugs are still bringing in barge-loads of sand and muck, and dumping it about 200m off the beach.

They have been joined by 2 dredges - one close to the beach, and the other further out.

Shuttling back and forth under its own engine power, and probably taking core samples, is a little yellow drilling platform which we've seen close to the beach as well as further out in line with The World development.

The work is being carried out by Royal Boskalis Westminster Middle East according to the signage on the buildings. The equipment is probably either owned by them or leased from Gulf Cobla LLC.

What they're doing out there is not known in any certainty, but a thread on Skyscraper.com mentions what we're all thinking - the Zabeel project is still on the go.


Mme Cyn said...

It is such a shame that they seem to be bent on spoiling the natural beauty of this town with this artificial rubbish.

I hear that they're putting a couple of the palm projects on hold for a bit... apparently the've stripped all the sand out of the bottom of the sea to make their silly islands, and of course they've chased off or killed the fish (and coral) who make the sand to start with. Will people ever learn?

nzm said...

Mme Cyn: Is it because we're divers and have an appreciation of the life aquatic that we can see what's going on more than others, or is it just because we're more vocal/passionate about what we care about?

The Deira Palm has been shortened by 5km according to a report that I read in Gulf News the other day, but I bet that they'll still try to fit the 1,000,000 people onto it that the original-size Palm was going to hold!

I found this report the other day on the coral reefs of the world. It's a very comprehensive 8mb 316 page pdf report written in 2004.

The analysis on the Gulf country reefs starts on page 155.

On the impact of the construction (reclaimed areas) in the UAE, it has this to say: (the bold text emphasis is mine)
Page 161
The highest cover and diversity of corals along the mainland coast of Dubai is in the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary has a wide diversity of habitats (lagoons, seagrass beds and
coral communities) that are all close together and have strong ecological links. The area was hit
hard by bleaching in 1996 and 1998 but recovery is strong, probably due to the availability of new
recruits from deeper water. Until recently, this was the only stretch of the Dubai coastline free of
industrial development, dredging and land reclamation, however, management of the sanctuary
has now been provided to the Palm Island Development Corporation. They are reclaiming huge
shallow areas for real estate development as part of the damaging Palm Island and Palm II
developments. These mega-projects involve massive scale dredging and reclamation, and are
expected to have very negative impacts on the entire coastal ecology of Dubai.

Page 164
Three very large land reclamation projects have started in UAE in the past 2 years: Palm Island;
Palm II; and the World Island. These real estate developments are fundamentally changing the
ecology of Dubai’s coastline. Large areas (several km2) of seabed are filled, there are impacts
from dredging sites, and there are changes to current patterns along the coastline. Palm II is
being built over the Jebal Ali Marine Sanctuary where corals occur in one of the few MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) in
These projects are particularly destructive and there has been minimal environmental
management attempted to mitigate the negative impacts. Maintenance dredging and
expansion of Jebal Ali Port also releases large volumes of suspended sediments into the coastal
environment, further damaging the rich coral areas to the east and west.

Seabee said...

I was walking along the beach this morning, without my camera unfortunately, and I saw a mini island which has appeared where the work in your photos is happening. It's a few feet high - there was a worker standing on it. I'll go tomorrow with the camera and post some photos on my blog.

black feline said...

i stopped going to the beach for a while...have a nice little pool and a jacuzzi as well on 14th floor..outdoor..love it!

nzm said...

Seabee: thanks - will link to that and update this post when you put them up.

Black Feline: how cool is that? A cat sure knows how to make a home!

BuJ said...

hmmm sounds a bit smelly to me.. MEED again pops into my head!

honestly i've lost hope when it comes to dubai and the sea/ecology.

the best example is fishing.. i've been fishing off the coasts of dubai for a few yrs.. and in these last few yrs i've noticed a significant reduction in the fish i catch. some might think i'm just crap but i tell u, it's coz the fish ain't there.

Sandie said...

Did you now that Jebel Ali beach is closed and they are building a beach resort? So all beach goers and especially windsurfers and kitesurfs have to find another place now to go to. We have been kicked out of Jumeira which is fair enough a lot of families go there and it could be dangerous but now Jebel Ali is closed. So all we can think of is to try the borders next to Abu Dhabi which is more than one hour's drive. By the time you rigg everything and your gear is set and ready to surf, you are already tired from the journey. Anyways, did they not say that Jebel Ali is a "Protected Nature Reserve"? I don't understand. Can someone explain please?