Abu Dhabi Ports’ oil spill response team, which is also responsible for clearing litter and other floating debris from the port operator’s 10 ports in the emirates, is doubling up as a conservation take-force.
Headed by Capt Saleh Ba Abbad, they clean the water of the emirates ports daily, while also rescuing endangered turtles weighed down by barnacle growth on their shells.
Capt Saleh Ba Abbad and his team of 14 people pull plastic, abandoned fishing nets, debris and animals from the sea - sometimes even rescuing humans, according to The National.
The team collected 120 tonnes of floating sea debris across all 10 ports in 2018, and was able to recycle just under 10% of it.
Over the past two months, the team has also found three dead turtles while four were rescued and released back into the water.
The barnacles weighing the turtles down are a sign of sickness, indicating that the turtle is unable to scrape them off its back itself.
They can prevent the turtles from reaching the surface, causing them to drown.
So Capt Saleh Ba Abbad and his team take the turtles, clean the shell and return it to the water.
“My team is doing many things, garbage, debris, oil spills, even dogs, cats and people are rescued when they fall in the water,” he told The National. “I like to see the world clean, if I see garbage, oil spill or dead animals in the water it upsets me.”
Capt Saleh Ba Abbad’s team is comprised of 14 people, five speedboats and the debris boat. The speedboats can carry the team 83 kilometres per hour and they are used chiefly to target oil spills.