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Explosion and fire at Jebel Ali port

A container on a feeder vessel has exploded causing a fire at the berth of Jebel Ali’s CT1 in Dubai.

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The vessel was berthed away from STS cranes, none of which appear to have been damaged by the blaze (photo: Dubai Media Office Twitter)
The vessel was berthed away from STS cranes, none of which appear to have been damaged by the blaze (photo: Dubai Media Office Twitter)

Late in the evening on 7 July, a container on the 130 TEU feeder vessel OCEAN TRADER exploded and started a vessel fire at Jebel Ali.


The explosion could be seen around Dubai and sparked a major response from the port and other authorities. The Dubai Media Office reported that the container was loaded with ‘flammable materials’ but did not provide any further details.


There is some speculation that the container was loaded with fireworks. There are major fireworks displays scheduled in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for the Eid Al Adha celebrations around 19 July.


The vessel was berthed between cranes at Jebel Ali’s Terminal 1, which is the port’s older terminal and handles mainly feeder vessels. Remarkably no one was injured in the event. The Dubai Media Office attributed this to the quick action of port officials, who ordered the vessel be evacuated when “a leakage and smoke was seen” immediately before the explosion.


The fire was put out swiftly using equipment on shore and a fire vessel on the water. DP World issued a statement saying that the fire was “contained within 40 minutes” and that “operations are running seamlessly at CT 1 and business is as usual across the port”.


“DP World’s Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) team was on the ground and ensured all personnel were safe and no casualties were reported. We thank the Dubai Civil Defence and Dubai Police for their swift response and support in resolving the incident in the most timely manner possible,” DP World.


It added that an investigation is currently underway to find out “the precise sequence of events”.


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