Volunteers from the Oman Divers team were joined by Oman Aquarium’s diving supervisor Asaad al Hassni, a qualified scuba diving instructor with over 16 years of diving experience, and during the two-day operation, over 100kg of refuse and litter was removed from the water, at various points around the harbour.
Oman Aquarium is one of the Al Jarwani Group’s latest developments in the sultanate, and is scheduled to open in Q4 2018 at the soon-to-open Mall of Muscat in the suburb of Ma'abela. It’s set to be the largest aquarium in the Middle East and the first of its kind in the sultanate.
The clean-up operation successfully tied in with Oman Aquarium’s vision to promote and contribute to marine conservation along the sultanate’s coastline while engaging with local communities.
Oman Aquarium’s general manager, Adrian Tolliday, said, “Oman Aquarium is dedicated to promoting marine conservation, education and research in the sultanate, and we are committed to engaging with local communities to achieve these aims. Oman Divers share many of the same values as we do with regards to marine conservation, so we were delighted to team up with them and share our combined expertise for the clean-up dive at the Port of Duqm. We look forward to being involved in similar projects in the future.”
Oman Divers consists of dozens of members from both Oman and the GCC region who are passionate about diving and the sea. According to Waleed Alkaabi, chairman of the Oman Divers, the organisation is affiliated with Oman’s Ministry of Sport Affairs, and besides recreational diving activities, their mission is to promote and advance marine conservation, encourage diving-related tourism in the sultanate, and engage in civil and defence-related diving assignments. Combined with similar organisations, the Oman Divers members form part of a group of over 270 diving enthusiasts.
The Port of Duqm was selected as a venue for the clean-up dive due to its status as one of the sultanate’s developing tourism destinations and key business zones. It is located on the Arabian Sea coastline around a five hour drive south of Muscat.
When it opens later in the year, Oman Aquarium is looking forward to welcoming members of the Oman Divers network to take part in the aquarium’s Scuba Dive Experience for visitors, in its 8m deep main marine tank. Currently, Oman Aquarium has established a fully operational quarantine facility for fish and marine life where staff is carefully monitoring the health of selected specimens before they are placed in the aquarium’s fish tanks. When Oman Aquarium opens, visitors will be able to explore a world-class aquarium housing a fascinating and diverse array of marine exhibits and marine life from across the planet - all spread out over two floors and a total area of 8,000sq m.
Central to the aquarium experience will be a 'Voyage of Discovery' with the illustrious Omani seafarer Ahmad Ibn Majid, who sailed the Arabian Sea and world oceans during the mid-1400s.
Earlier in the year, the Oman Aquarium celebrated World Oceans Day on June 8 with its first collection of fish for the aquarium’s quarantine facility. The landmark occasion took place offshore of Saham, the small town on Oman’s North Batinah governorate coastline.