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Explosion at Dubai Jebel Ali port sends tremors across city
7/8/2021 12:00:00 AM

A container ship (Ocean Trader) at berth at Jebel Ali port (Container Terminal 1) caught fire late on Wednesday, causing a huge explosion that sent tremors across the United Arab Emirates’ commercial hub.

The blaze sent up giant orange flames on a vessel at the crucial Jebel Ali port, the busiest in the Middle East, and unleashed a shock wave through the skyscraper-studded city, causing walls and windows to shake in neighbourhoods as far as 25 kilometres (15 miles) away.
Panicked residents filmed from their high-rises as a fiery ball illuminated the night sky. The blast was powerful enough to be seen from space by satellite.
There were no immediate reports of casualties at the port, which is also the busiest port of call for American warships outside the US.
Two and a half hours after the explosion, Dubai’s civil defence 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. Special kudos to the Emergency Response Team who immediately activated and brought the situation under control in no time thus averting a major mis-happening.
The extent of the damage caused by the explosion to the port and surrounding cargo was not immediately clear.
Footage shared on social media of the aftermath showed charred containers, ashes and littered debris. The sheer force and visibility of the blast suggested the presence of a highly combustible substance.
Dubai authorities told the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV that the crew had evacuated in time and that the fire appeared to have started in one of the containers holding “flammable material,” without elaborating.
Seeking to downplay the explosion, Mona al-Marri, director general of Dubai Media Office, told Al-Arabiya the incident “could happen anywhere in the world” and that authorities were investigating the cause.
Authorities did not identify the stricken ship beyond saying it was a small vessel with a capacity of 130 containers.
Ship tracker MarineTraffic 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.
Jebel Ali is one of the largest ports in the world and the largest in the Middle East. It serves cargo from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Asia. Operated by DP World, it has four sprawling container terminals that can berth some of the world’s largest ships.
Source: BNO News