Dubai: Fiery explosion on container ship sends tremors across city
A fiery explosion erupted on a container ship anchored in Dubai at Jebel Ali Port late Wednesday, sending tremors across the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates. The blaze sent up giant orange flames on the vessel docked at one of the world's largest ports and busiest in the Middle East that sits on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula. Here's more.
No casualties have been reported so far
The combustion unleashed a shockwave through the skyscraper-studded city of Dubai, causing walls and windows to shake in neighborhoods as far as 25km away from the port. Panicked residents filmed from their high-rises as a fiery ball illuminated the night sky. However, there were no immediate reports of casualties. The port is also the busiest port of call for American warships outside the US.
Fire was brought under control after two and half hours
Some two and a half hours after the blast, Dubai's civil defense teams said they had brought the fire under control and started the cooling process. Authorities posted footage on social media of firefighters dousing giant shipping containers. The glow of the blaze remained visible in the background as civil defense crews worked to contain the fire.
Footage of the aftermath showed charred containers, ashes, littered debris
The extent of damage caused to the port and surrounding cargo wasn't immediately clear. Footage shared on social media of the aftermath showed charred containers, ashes, and littered debris. The sheer force and visibility of the explosion suggested the presence of a highly combustible substance.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire
A Dubai police commander told Saudi Arabia-owned Al-Arabiya TV that the fire appeared to have started in one of the containers holding flammable material, without elaborating. Mona al-Marri, Director-General of Dubai Media Office, told Al-Arabiya that the authorities were investigating the cause. Moreover, Dubai authorities did not identify the stricken ship beyond saying it was a small vessel with a capacity of 130 containers.
Container ship identified as Ocean Trader by 'MarineTraffic'
Ship tracker MarineTraffic, however, showed a fleet of small support vessels surrounding a docked container ship called the Ocean Trader flagged in Comoros. Footage from the scene rebroadcast by the UAE's state-run WAM news agency showed firefighters hosing down a vessel bearing paint and logo that corresponds to the Ocean Trader, operated by the Dubai-based Inzu Ship Charter.
Ship had been sailing through the UAE coast since April
The Ocean Trader docked at Jebel Ali Port at midday Wednesday. Ship tracking data showed the vessel had been sailing up and down the coast of the UAE since April. The United Nations ship database identified the vessel's owners as Sash Shipping corporation.
Steps are being taken to ensure vessels' movement remains undisrupted
Operated by the Dubai-based DP World, Jebel Ali Port has four sprawling container terminals that can berth some of the world's largest ships. Port officials said they were taking all necessary measures to ensure that the normal movement of vessels continues without any disruption. DP World describes Jebel Ali Port as a vital link in the global trade network connecting eastern and western markets
All you need to know about Jebel Ali Port
The Jebel Ali Port at the northern end of Dubai is the largest man-made deep-water harbor in the world and serves cargo from the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and Asia. The port is not only a critical global cargo hub but a lifeline for Dubai and surrounding emirates, serving as the point of entry for essential imports.