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United Arab Emirates
Spill Notification Point
Spills should be reported to the nearest port authority:
Dubai Ports Authority
Tel: +971 4 3451115
Fax: +971 4 345 2928
Dubai Ports Authority
Jebel Ali Port
Tel: +971 4 88835251 /8815000
Fax: +971 4 8835430
Fujairah Ports Authority
Tel: +971 9 2228844/77
Fax: +971 9 2228022
Abu Dhabi Ports Company
Tel: +971 2 6731892
Fax: +971 2 6730090
Sharjah Ports Authority
Tel: +971 6 5281666/7
Fax: +971 6 5281425
Competent National Authority
Oil pollution in the federal UAE is the responsibility of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (formerly the Federal Environmental Agency (FEA)). The UAE government is currently working towards implementing a codified National Oil Spill Contingency Plan to coordinate procedures for responding to oil spills (July 2017). Several local oil companies and port authorities also have contingency plans.
In the case of a minor spill in any Emirate, the relevant port authority or oil company would respond and oversee any clean up. Within Dubai, the Dubai Police MPCC, part of the Ministry of Interior, would deal with Tier 1 spills in coastal waters and shoreline areas.
In the event of a major spill within one of the Emirates, the Ruler of that Emirate would assume command. In most cases, an ad hoc committee would be appointed and designate an On-Scene Commander (OSC). The committee would comprise members of both federal and Emirate government agencies, as well as representatives from the local port authority and any oil companies involved. In Dubai, the Dubai Police MPCC plays a crucial role in the response to a Tier 2 or 3 incident under direction from the Dubai Chief of Police or his designate. The MPCC would work together with whatever other resources are available at the scene of the incident.
If a major spill seriously affected more than one Emirate, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment would take overall charge of the spill. In such cases, they would appoint the OSC and the committee members. In all the Emirates, shoreline clean up and disposal would be the responsibility of the relevant municipality. Supplementary labour could be provided by the armed forces.
Dispersants are used widely, particularly offshore but are generally prohibited in the vicinity of seawater intakes and within some port limits. Only dispersants approved by ROPME (Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment, http://ropme.org) can be used.
Waste oil storage and disposal options vary among the Emirates. Several landfill sites are available but there are few slops or ballast reception facilities on the East coast.
The Dubai Police MPCC have three oil spill response vessels for containment and recovery and dispersant spraying operations and a stockpile of Tier 1 equipment stored at a central location in Dubai. The Frontier and Coast Guard Service in Abu Dhabi have vessels for surveillance, sampling & equipment transport, and personnel & vehicles for shoreline clean up, whilst the Air Wing of the Ministry of Interior (Dubai Police Air Wing in Dubai) can provide aerial surveillance. The government would also rely on the port authorities and oil industry for specialised equipment.
Supplementary resources can be requested by the government through the Marine Emergencies Mutual Aid Centre (MEMAC http://memac-rsa.org/en/home), based in Bahrain, a part of ROPME.
All operating oil companies have stockpiles of equipment. The largest operator, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has an extensive range of resources including offshore boom, skimmers, dispersant and helicopter-mounted spraying units. These are distributed amongst five strategic centres; Ruwais, Umm Al-Nar, and at Das, Mubarras and Arzanah Islands. ADNOC and Dubai Petroleum are members of the Regional Clean Sea Organisation (RECSO http://www.recso.org/), an oil industry cooperative organisation, and may request assistance from other member companies.
Several port authorities operate tugs equipped with dispersant spraying equipment and stocks of clean-up equipment. Most plants with seawater intakes have stocks of boom.
The Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) has sited a small stockpile of response equipment in Abu Dhabi comprising heavy oil skimmers, boom and portable storage tanks. Several private contractors have skimming vessels and other equipment located at Fujairah and Dubai.
Previous Spill Experience
The UAE acquired some experience in responding to spills arising from the Iran/Iraq war although the coastline was not seriously threatened. The bunker barge AKARI (1987) lost 1000 tonnes of fuel oil after being beached at Jebel Ali. A major at-sea and shoreline response was organised and local desalination plants were contaminated. The SEKI (1994) spilt 16,000 tonnes of crude after a collision off Fujairah. Private contractors were used to clean contaminated beaches along the east coast of the UAE, following an at-sea response through the port authorities. Local disruption to fisheries led to substantial claims. The fully-laden barge PONTOON 300 (1998) sank off Hamriyah, spilling about 8,000 tonnes of intermediate fuel oil. The oil drifted ashore, contaminating five Emirates, and causing disruption to fishing activities and the temporary closure of two desalination plants. The AL JAZIAH 1 (2000) sank during a storm shortly after departure from the port of Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi, spilling an estimated 100-200 tonnes of fuel oil which affected a number of small islands, sand banks and mangroves. Other minor incidents are reported fairly regularly along the UAE coastlines.
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional & Bilateral Agreements
- Kuwait Convention (with countries bordering the Gulf) administered by the Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) based in Kuwait.
Date of issue: July 2017
Terms & Conditions
These Country & Territory Profiles are provided in good faith as a guide only and are based on information obtained from a variety of sources over a period of time. This information is subject to change and should, in each case, be independently verified before reliance is placed on it. Country & Territory Profiles may have been re-issued solely to incorporate additional or revised information under one heading only. Each Profile has therefore not necessarily been completely verified or updated as at the stated Date of Issue. The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (“ITOPF”) hereby excludes, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, any and all liability to any person, corporation or other entity for any loss, damage or expense resulting from reliance on or use of these Country & Territory Profiles. ©The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF) 2017. These Country & Territory Profiles may be reproduced by any means for non-commercial distribution without addition, deletion or amendment, provided an acknowledgement of the source is given and these Terms & Conditions are reproduced in full. These Country & Territory Profiles may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of ITOPF either for commercial distribution or with addition, deletion or amendment.