Dubai: Bathers and surfers were called out of the water at JBR beach on Saturday after lifeguards sighted what may have been a shark, however the sighting remains unconfirmed.

In the morning, and repeatedly in the afternoon, patrol cars from Dubai Municipality drove and up and down the beach asking people to leave the water. The beach was not closed and the people seemed undeterred, re-entering the water once the patrol car had passed, said one beachgoer.

Scott Chambers from Surf Dubai said some of his colleagues were surfing at JBR on Saturday between 9am and 11am when the alarm was first raised.

Chomping motion

“Some of our guys were out there and were asked to get out the water by a lifeguard. The lifeguard was making crocodile chomping motion with his arms and it wasn’t immediately obvious he was referring to a shark,” said Chambers.

“At this time of the year with winds of up to 25 knots coming down the coast from Kuwait, it is going to stir stuff up from turtles to seasnakes. I wouldn’t say that it was impossible to have shark in the water but it is unlikely,” he added. “It could have been just a big plastic bag,” said Chambers.

Hammerhead shark claims

Claims have been made that a hammerhead shark was in the water. The Arabian Gulf is home to several species of sharks from black tip reef sharks to whale sharks.

According to the Marine Conservation Forum 2010 held in Abu Dhabi about 25 species of shark inhabit the Gulf waters, but if the current rate of global overfishing continues, there could be disastrous effects on the ecosystem.

“We have had no official reported shark attacks here and I wouldn’t want people to think that the waters are not safe. The typical shark species we get here would not come to shallow waters,” he said.