Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Population growth, industrial development and the esoteric goals of national self-sufficiency in water and food propels the arid nations of Arabia in a voracious scavenge for alternative resources of fresh water as depletion and contamination of the natural aquifers have reached critical proportions. Desalination of sea water is currently the preferred alternative source of fresh water. Recent misgivings concerning the antroprogenic discharge of desalination effluent (i.e. high temperature and high saline water) into the semi-enclosed, epicontinental waters of the Arabian Gulf question the sustainability of this process. Demonstrable deleterious affects of such a process on the marine ecosystem of the Gulf imparts new impetus into the concept of fresh water backhaul by VLCC, a practical alternative source of fresh water. Although suggested over a decade ago, this maritime option was never pursued. Recent innovations in VLCC design and the legislative environment in which it operates indicate that conventional VLCCs substantially augment the prospects of such a proposal. By eliciting and combining the deleterious affects of desalination and the virtues of the modern VLCC, this paper attempts to justify the commercial and sustainable viability of the VLCC backhaul of European fresh water to the Middle East.