Fire aboard a containership - possibly the MV Ocean Trader, after a shipping container explosion.Images via Dubai authorities.

Dubai Extinguishes Ship Fire After A Massive Container Explosion

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July 8, 2021

Update: An statement from UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, confirmed the ship involved is the Ocean Trader. The fire was brought under control in just 44 minutes.

“We assure the people of Dubai and the UAE, including individuals, institutions and those associated with the maritime sector, that the logistics and operational facilities of Jebel Ali Port have not suffered any damage, and the accident has not affected the movement of ships due to its distance from the main shipping line and the water channel in the port,” the statement said. -End update


By Lisa Barrington and Alexander Cornwell

DUBAI, July 7 (Reuters) – 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)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021.


Related Book: Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Explosion Aboard the Deepwater Horizon
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