ocean-trader-explosion

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

Ship Captain Convicted Over Hazardous Container Blast at Jebel Ali Port

Mike Schuler
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August 22, 2022

A Dubai court has the convicted the captain of the M/V Ocean Trader and four others in connection to last year’s fire and massive explosion on board the vessel at Dubai’s Port of Jebel Ali.

The incident took place July 7, 2021 after the Ocean Trader had loaded containers for export, including three that contained hazardous organic peroxide. The fire started in one of the hazardous containers and led to an explosion that could be felt for miles.

Nobody was killed in the accident, but five people suffered relatively minor injuries.

An investigation revealed that the containers with organic peroxide had arrived at the port 12 days before the incident and were kept in direct sunlight and scorching heat.

The court found that the organic compounds were allowed to decompose as a result of negligence by the cargo shipping company, UAE-based The National reported. The decomposition led to a build up of gases that caught fire and exploded when being loaded onto the ship.

Prosecutors made the case that the captain was responsible for the stowage plan and had loaded the hazardous containers close to each other.

The captain reportedly denied any wrongdoing, arguing unsuccessfully that he did not know that the containers had been stored improperly and would not have loaded them if he did, according to The National. The captain apparently told the court he noticed one of the containers leaking smoke and immediately alerted shoreside personel and ordered crew members to evacuate—an action that likely saved lives.

The fire was brought under control after about 44 minutes.

The court found the captain and four others guilty of wrongfully causing the incident and subsequent damage as well as the injury of five people, the report said. Each was given a one month suspended prison sentence and fined about $10,000. Five companies were also fined.

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