A businessman from the United Arab Emirates has revealed his six-year-long dream of transporting an iceberg from Antarctica to off the coastline of his home country.
National Advisor Bureau Ltd managing director Abdulla Alshehi wants to undertake the mission with the end goal of providing fresh, clean drinking water for up to five years – and act as a tourist drawcard.
He estimated it would take 10 months to tow the iceberg from the Antarctic to the UAE coastline, using a metal belt to keep the mass together during the journey. However, it’s modelled it would still shrink by about 30 per cent by the time it reached the considerably warmer Arabian ocean.
“It will be cheaper to bring in these icebergs and utilise them for fresh water rather than utilising the desalination water,” Mr Alshehi said in an interview with Inspire Middle East.
“Because desalination plants require a huge amount of capital investments.”
He can also foresee it sprouting a new leg of tourism for the UAE, with the advent of “iceberg outings”.
As for the timeframe, Mr Alshehi hopes to complete a trial iceberg transplant later this year, towing a smaller iceberg from either Perth, Australia, or Cape Town in South Africa, to the UAE to test water harvesting viability.
It will likely be a few years before the major project gets under way.
But it won’t be a cheap exercise – the test tow is pegged at between $US60 and $US80 million ($86 million and $115 million), and the full project could cost up to $US150 million ($215 million).