DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – A fiery explosion erupted on a container ship anchored in Dubai at one of the world’s largest ports on Wednesday evening, authorities said, causing tremors in the UAE shopping center United.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, and it is not known what triggered the explosion.
The fire set off giant orange flames from a ship at Jebel Ali port, the busiest in the Middle East. Jebel Ali is located in the eastern Arabian Peninsula and is also the busiest port of call for American warships outside of the United States.
The combustion set off a shockwave in the city of Dubai, shaking walls and windows in areas as far as 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the port. Residents were filmed from their skyscrapers as a fireball lit up the night sky. The explosion was powerful enough to be seen from space by satellite.
About 2.5 hours after the explosion, Dubai Civil Defense teams said they had brought the blaze under control and started the “cooling process”. Authorities posted images of firefighters spraying giant shipping containers on social media. The glow of the blaze remained visible in the background as civil defense teams worked to contain the blaze.
The extent of the damage to the sprawling port and surrounding cargo was not immediately clear. Images shared on social media of the aftermath showed charred containers, ash and debris littered.
The strength and visibility of the explosion suggested the presence of a combustible substance. Authorities in Dubai told Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya that the crew evacuated on time and the fire appeared to have started in one of the containers with flammable materials, without further details.
Seeking to downplay the blast, Mona al-Marri, chief executive of the Dubai media office, told Al-Arabiya that the incident “could happen anywhere in the world” and that authorities are investigating the blast. cause.
Jebel Ali Port, at the northern end of Dubai, is the largest man-made deep-water port in the world and serves goods from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Asia. The port is not only a global freight hub, but a lifeline for Dubai and the surrounding emirates, serving as an entry point for essential imports.
Dubai authorities have not identified the stricken vessel beyond saying it was a small vessel with a capacity of 130 containers.
The MarineTraffic ship tracker showed a fleet of small support vessels surrounding a moored container ship called Ocean Trader flying the flag of Comoros. Footage from the scene re-broadcast by the United Arab Emirates state news agency WAM showed firefighters spraying a ship with paint and a logo that matches the Ocean Trader, operated by Dubai-based Inzu Ship Charter.
The Ocean Trader docked at Jebel Ali port on Wednesday at noon. Vessel tracking data showed the vessel had been sailing along the coast of the United Arab Emirates since April. The United Nations Vessel Database identified the owners of the vessel as Sash Shipping Corporation. Sash and Inzu Ship Charter did not immediately respond to the request for comment.
Operated by Dubai-based DP World, the Port of Jebel Ali has a handling capacity of over 22 million containers and sprawling terminals that can accommodate some of the world’s largest ships. Port officials said they were “taking all necessary measures to ensure that normal vessel movement continues without any disruption.”
The state-owned DP World describes the port of Jebel Ali as a “hub” and a “vital link in the global trade network” that connects markets in the East and the West. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the explosion.
Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Hamilton, Ohio, contributed to this report.