Sunday, 1 November 2009

A short working stint in UAE

It was around this time 3 years ago that I was working on a project at the United Arab Emirates. Our company was involved in the construction of marine structures for a beach resort hotel in the emirate (or state) of Fujairah. The new hotel is about 120km from Dubai and is located on the eastern coast of UAE facing the Indian Ocean.

Our scope of works basically consisted of the construction of two rock-filled structures called groynes and the pumping of sea sand to fill up the beach. The groynes are located either ends of the resort boundary and act as wave-breakers so that large waves coming in from the open sea would reduce in size before impacting on the beach. The primary objective of the design is to create an area of relatively calmer water that is conducive to swimming and snorkelling.

The process of pumping of sea sand is technically known as beach nourishment. The original beach was quite narrow and has coral and rocky outcrops at certain areas. By pumping white marine sand dredged from the sea bed, a wider and more aesthetic beach was created.

Beachfront before sandfilling work

Sand pumping in progress

Construction of the north groyne

It was a tough and challenging work. Apart from the hot weather (temperatures hitting 40 degC), we had to contend with very demanding clients. Working in a marine environment also carries with it additional risk. Bad weather and sea-storms caused some delays. One particular storm was so severe that it battered our tugs and barges. The waves were so strong that the mooring ropes on one of our barges snapped, causing the barge to break loose. Luckily, the barge's movable ramp got wedged between some rocks, otherwise the barge would've drifted away.

Our hired tugboat was not so lucky. The waves pushed the tug towards the shore and run aground over some rocks. The rocks punctured the boat's hull, causing it to take in water. The boat partially sank and rested on the rock bed. After the storm had subsided, we quickly arranged for a salvage company to assist in the re-floating operation.

I left the UAE to return back to Malaysia in March 2007. The hotel opened for operations not long after that. The following photographs showing views of the completed beach are taken from the hotel's website here -> Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort & Spa.

View of hotel and beach with north groyne in the background

View of beach facing south

The view of the Indian Ocean from the hotel is quite breathtaking. It has crossed my mind to perhaps spend a night at this resort, if I ever get the chance to visit Fujairah again... but at around RM600 per night for the cheapest room, I guess it will remain just a thought.


HLiza said...

Menariknya..takkan tak dapat 'staff rate' ke..he he he..

Aizan Suhaira said...

They should've given the people who worked on the project a very steep discount, is what I say!

anneaziz said...

Salam Oldstock,

Next time when negotiating your contract, add in some fine prints which carries hefty discounts on room rates. Wink*

Boleh bawak Mrs Oldstock for second honeymoon...

Rina said...

Kenapa tiba2 masa sand pumping in progress bangunan pun bertukar sekali warna pink? Service termasuk cat bangunan jugak ka?

Hihi.. :)

Between, you have a nice portfolio over there Mr! Mind to share others?

Lady Prism said...

Oooh, interesting...interesting!

madam gold said...

First time here.Does your work revolve around marine engineering?My son is so interested in taking up marine engineering,but I am not quite sure the prospect of this area.He intends to take up the fast trek offer in this area,either at UTP,Australia or New Zealand.
Perhaps you could enlighten me on this.
Thank you very much.

Oldstock said...


Kami ni kontraktor, bukan staff... jadi tak dapatlah nak merasa staff rate. Takpe la, kalau ada rezeki pegi sana lagi, dapat minum kopi secawan kat restoran dia pun jadilah.

Oldstock said...


From the pressure that all the contractors were put under during the project, I guess most of us were happy just to complete our job and get out of the place :-)

Oldstock said...

Salam anne,

No such luck. Masa buat projek tu, nak kejar payment pun susah... apatah lagi nak harap dapat discount on room rates.

Oldstock said...


Our scope of works was on the marine side only. Building construction was carried out by other contractors.

Sorry, I don't get what you mean about the portfolio. If you can explain, then perhaps I can answer.

Oldstock said...

Hi there Lady Prism,

Welcome back. I seem to recall that you've commented in this blog before. Thanks for dropping by again.

Oldstock said...

Salam madam gold,

Firstly, welcome to this blog.

I am actually in civil engineering but specialising in coastal and marine structures. It is a specialised field and not many engineers in Malaysia are experts in this area. The prospects are good provided you are not choosy.

Marine engineering could also mean the mechanical side of it, i.e. relating to shipbuilding or sometimes also referred to as naval architecture. Also a good prospect as our maritime industry is growing to meet global demand.

Feel free to drop me an email if you'd like to discuss details.

Anonymous said...

Mr Oldstock,

Looking at your position I am sure you can afford the RM600 room per night. Sekali sekala bagilah treat kat Mrs. Oldstock. Apa kata go for second honeymoon. My friend life begin at fourties. He he he....


Justiffa said...

Hmmmm 'beach nourishment'.. thats something new to me. Goes to show we never stop learning do we? :D

The hubs was at the palm jumeira sometime back and i'm still slightly greenish here & there (from envy) lol. its fantastic what money can do ya.. laut bole jadi tanah, gurun bole jadi golf green :)

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Bet you must have missed wifey & ALL HER QUESTIONS (same as sand pumping ka?)' whilst u were away...muahaha.


Ki Moira said...


Oldstock said...


I can probably afford to pay for the room. It's the flight tickets that I'm thinking about. Lagipun, kalau saya ada duit, saya lebih suka pegi Europe. Sebenarnya, takde apa sangat kat UAE tu, unless you are a student of architecture and like to see all those impressive buildings.

Oldstock said...


Pak Arab emirates ni memang banyak duit. Projek-projek kat Dubai semuanya gah belaka... tapi tak tahu lah sampai bila hasil minyak diaorang boleh bertahan.

Takyah la nak jeles hb dapat gi sana. Kalau you ada rezeki lebih, I rasa you mungkin nak gi lawat tempat lain.

Oldstock said...


Yeah, you're right... I missed the wife. But what to do, cari makan maa...

Oldstock said...


Err... you're proud of me ke? :-)