There are plans by an Abu Dhabi-based firm to tow ICEBERGS from Antarctica to shores of Fujairah in the UAE. Here's why!
3 May 2017| Last updated on 14 January 2020
The UAE’s Ministry of Energy has denied any plans to tow icebergs to the the coast of Fujairah from Antartica for drinking water. The Ministry dismissed it as a rumour and made it clear that, as the authority in charge of water affairs, they won't be doing anything of the sort.
Since the new year, 2017 seems to be the time of announcements and big ambitions for the UAE and everyone living here.
To add to what is already an impressive collection - which includes a building hanging from an asteroid - an Abu Dhabi-based eco firm have revealed their plans to tow icebergs from Antarctica to the UAE in early 2018.
The plan is to use the icebergs to harvest ice for pure drinking water.
In a recent interview with Gulf News, Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi, Managing Director of National Advisor Bureau Limited in Masdar City, shared that an average, large iceberg can contain over 20 billion gallons of water.
That's enough for one million people for over five years.
Dubbed the UAE Iceberg Project, Al Shehi shared that his company has already run the iceberg transportation route and variables through simulators to help predict the feasibility of the plans.
But what are the benefits of towing icebergs to the UAE?
The plans are to tow them to the coast of Fujairah in the UAE, and the iceberg will act as a new source of freshwater in the UAE and for the region.
There are also tourism considerations involved also; with hopes that visitors and residents of the UAE will travel to Fujairah's coast to witness huge icebergs floating in the Arabian Sea.
Not only that, but towing icebergs to the UAE's coastline would contribute to the country's ongoing efforts of increasing rainfall here. The presence of giant icebergs in the waters off the UAE would create 'micro-climates', which would help induce rain in the desert climate.
When hot and cold air meet, it makes severe weather storms such as rain, thunder storms, lightning, hail and even tornadoes in some regions.
If the project goes ahead at the beginning of 2018, residents of the UAE can expect to see icebergs floating off Fujairah's coastline as early as 2019, as it will take up to one year to carry out the plan.
The UAE Iceberg Project is also part of a much winder plan by Al Shehi's company, called 'Filling the Empty Quarter Project', which is aimed at bringing greenery back to Rub Al Khali desert.
How can they simply take a part of Antarctica?
At this stage, the technicalities and permissions of such a project are unclear and not readily available to the public.
Antarctica was divided as a result of the Antarctic Treaty, in which seven countries - Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom - made territorial claims to parts of the landscape.
Plus, Antartica is the world's most southern continent, and is believed to contain up to 70% of Earth's fresh water.
Indeed, it makes sense to want to transport some of this to desert countries who may have a water shortage, but to remove parts of a continent that is already battling things like global warming may make the plans seem quite questionable for some.