A millionaire businessman from the UAE has unveiled bold plans to ship an enormous Antarctic iceberg all the way to Perth.
The quirky idea is part of trial project to supply fresh drinking water to the Middle East in a bid to solve the region’s water shortage problems.
The country lacks water sources and thus consumes 15 per cent of the world’s desalinated seawater.
Engineers behind the chilling plan claim their method is cheaper than building a new desalination plant.
The trial is likely to cost around $80 million, just to assess feasibility, while the real deal is set to cost up to $150 million.
The 10-month endeavour will see an iceberg, measuring approximately 2 kilometres by 500 metres, dragged by tugboat from Antarctic waters to the Arabian gulf.
Emirati businessman Abdulla Alshehi is funding the project that’s been in the pipeline for six years.
The large body could lose 30 per cent of its mass on the way over, but the Emirati “ice pirate” said enough would still be left over to provide fresh water to one million UAE residents over five years.
We asked people across Perth how they felt about the idea of a giant Iceberg gracing our shoreline.
“The sheer scale of this is a bit ridiculous as well as the cost, but drinking water is essential I guess.”
“Why would you spend that much money when it’s just going to melt?”
“Maybe he’s onto a winner you know, freeing up some icebergs.”
The trial is set to take place in either Perth or Cape Town and if successful will see an even bigger chunk towed via tugboat to the Fujairah coast in the UAE.
UWA, ECU and Curtin were approached for comment but none of their experts were available.