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MP questions impact of reported oil slick on fish

Lawmaker calls on KAC board to resign * MP calls for Dhaman probe

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: MP Mubarak Al-Tasha on Monday asked Minister of Oil Saad Al-Barrak about reports saying that a large oil slick has formed off southern Kuwait’s coast and its possible impact on fishery in the country. The lawmaker said reports have indicated that the spill developed into a large oil slick over an area of 30 sq km (12 km long and 3.9 km wide), east of Fintas coast in the south. Tasha said that slick could cause a huge pollution catastrophe and endanger the fish resources. He asked the minister about the truth in these reports and if Environment Public Authority stations have monitored the reported spill.

In case the report of the spill is correct, the lawmaker asked about its size and its possible impact on sea life. He added the environment authority said in a statement on Aug 18 that it has received information from the Regional Organization for the Protection of Marine Environment (ROPME) and the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Center (MEMAC) about monitoring a slick suspected to be an oil spill in Kuwaiti territorial waters based on satellite images. EPA added the area was surveyed in cooperation with the coastguard and no pollution or slick was detected until that date.

Kuwaiti oil companies also surveyed the area without spotting any pollution. The lawmaker asked the minister if the environment authority updated its information later to verify if the slick is present. Meanwhile, MP Shuaib Shaaban on Monday called on the Kuwait Airways’ chairman, CEO and the entire board to step down for failing to manage the state airline properly and for not appointing Kuwaiti citizens in top posts. Shaban said KAC Chairman Ali Al-Dukhan and CEO Maen Razouqi and other board members held a press conference a few days ago to justify the appointment of an Arab national as an advisor with a high salary.

He said KAC officials have failed miserably in encouraging nationals to participate in running the state carrier and instead are appointing foreigners in key posts. The lawmaker called on the entire board to step down and called for holding them accountable for allegedly failing to manage the loss-making airline. Also, MP Abdullah Al-Mudhaf claimed on Monday that the government is preventing the Audit Bureau from investigating the state of affairs at the Health Assurance Hospitals Company (Dhaman), which is several years behind its operation date.

The agreement to establish the company was signed in 2014 to provide full healthcare services to a majority of the 3.3 million expats living in Kuwait. But the company has delayed operations for several years now although most of its facilities are ready. Mudhaf said the National Assembly voted unanimously, with the approval of the government, to assign the Audit Bureau to launch an investigation into the company, reasons for its delayed start and any possible impact on public funds.

He added that it appears the government is preventing the bureau from launching the investigation and held the government responsible for any consequences. The start of Dhaman company will relieve state health services from dealing with over 1.8 million expats, making it much easier for citizens to receive medical care.

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