Video: Explosion on Containership Rocks Dubai Port
An explosion aboard a ship in Dubai’s commercial port of Jebel Ali shook the Middle Eastern city on Wednesday night causing fears among residents of a terrorist attack or a situation similar to the blast that leveled Beirut’s port in 2020. Government officials moved quickly to downplay the explosion saying in was a “normal accident” with flammable materials in a container loaded aboard a ship either at the dock or approaching the dock.
Shortly before midnight local time, residents across the city reported hearing a loud explosion and a fireball rising from a ship near the port complex. Reports say that the shockwave rattled buildings and windows up to 15 miles away from the port.
A fire caused by an explosion within a container on board a ship at Jebel Ali Port has been brought under control; no casualities have been reported. pic.twitter.com/oMTaJhgEYd— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) July 7, 2021
According to Al Arabiya sources, an explosion occurred on a ship off of Jebel Ali port. The sound was heard all around Dubai. Cause is still unknown. pic.twitter.com/upGkwdg4A5— Mohammed Khalid Alyahya (@7yhy) July 7, 2021
Early reports suggested that a tanker in the anchorage had exploded, raising fears of a missile or mine. Follow-up reports seem to qualify that it was a container loaded aboard a ship that was either entering the port or at the dock at the time of the explosion. The official Dubai Media Office is reporting that it was a container loaded on a ship and that there were no initial reports of injuries. “Dubai Civil Defense teams are currently dealing with a fire caused by the explosion of a container on board a ship in Jebel Ali Port,” the DMO posted on social media followed by statements that the fire was out.
In later reports on social media, the DMO said that precautions and an investigation were underway, but that it believed the explosion happened aboard a smaller feeder vessel carrying approximately 130 containers into the port. They said there were still no reports of injuries and that they were now working to cool the area to ensure that no additional fires erupted.
Jebel Ali Port authorities Tweeted, “We are taking all necessary measures to ensure the normal movement of ships in the port continues without any disruption.”
Despite the statements to reassured everyone that the situation was under control, and it was a normal accident, videos posted to social media showed the port littered with debris after the explosion.
Jebel Ali now, Dubai ???????? pic.twitter.com/IhPMaw9kOK— Saeed Mahmoud ???????????????????? (@saeedma91) July 7, 2021
The Jebel Ali port, operated by DP World, is one of the largest in the world and the largest in the Middle East. It has four container terminals serving as a transshipping point for cargos traveling across the Middle East. The port handles more than 14 million TEU annually.