Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port Rocked by Huge Explosion on Container Ship

Story Highlights
  • Blast that caused blaze could be heard 22 km away
  • Explosion blamed on flammable material in container
  • Minister says all regular port activity resumed

A fire aboard a ship in Dubai‘s Jebel Ali Port was extinguished on Thursday after it had been sparked overnight by an explosion in a container, the Dubai government’s media office said.

The blaze in the Middle East’s largest transshipment hub was caused by a container holding flammable material, Dubai Media Office (DMO) Director General Mona Al Marri told Al Arabiya television, describing it as a “normal accident”.

DMO said there were no casualties and officials told Al Arabiya the crew had been evacuated.

Police in Dubai, a regional business hub and one of seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates, said the blast might have been caused by “friction or high temperatures” during hot summer weather, Al Arabiya reported.

UAE Energy and Infrastructure Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said all logistical operations at Jebel Ali Port had resumed. “Our priority now is to ensure that the accident will not impact the marine environment,” he said in a ministry statement.

The ministry named the ship as Ocean Trader. The Dubai authorities earlier said it had capacity to carry 130 containers. Reuters could not immediately contact the ship’s owners.

Overnight, DMO had posted footage of water being pumped to douse flames. Witnesses in residential areas as far away as 22 km (14 miles) from Jebel Ali had heard the explosion.

The DMO said the vessel had been preparing to dock at a berth “away from the port’s main shipping line”.

State-run DP World, the owner of Jebel Ali Port which handled 13.5 million containers in 2020, had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom and Nayera Abdallah and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous and Raya Jalabi; Editing by David Gregorio and Edmund Blair


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