Wooden Dhow Catches Fire Near Downtown Dubai

Tariq Rajput / twitter

By MarEx 2016-10-10 21:19:21

On Monday afternoon, a fire broke out on a traditional wooden cargo dhow on Dubai Creek, the waterway passing through the heart of the UAE’s best-known city. 

Police boats and firefighting boats responded and sprayed the dhow with water cannons, extinguishing the fire. 

The boat sank after the blaze was extinguished, local media said.

No casualties were reported. A witness told Gulf News that the vessel was an Iranian merchant boat carrying consumer goods, and that the fire originated in the engine compartment. A different witness contradicted this account, telling The National that a gas cylinder was the source of the blaze. 

The smoke could be seen from many parts of Dubai: the dhow wharfage is centrally located, directly across the creek from the residence of the Emir of Qatar and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

A fire in 2015 ripped through three vessels, sinking two and damaging one more, and locals credited the authorities' quick response with preventing the spread of Monday's blaze. 

Local media report that the dhows and their cargoes are not typically insured.

Fire calls attention to a little-known part of Dubai

Dubai Creek has been a center of small merchant vessel trading for decades, and its wooden-hulled boats are something of an anachronism in the futuristic, upscale city of Dubai. 

Like the rest of the city, the areas around the creek face heavy development pressure. The wharf is directly adjacent to a new luxury project, the Jewel of the Creek, which commenced construction in 2011. And the government is contemplating a design for a series of towers fashioned after Aladdin's lamp, all interconnected by enclosed walkways, all directly above the dhow wharfage.

At a groudbreaking ceremony Monday, further up the creek, government leaders inaugurated the construction of what will be the world's tallest skyscraper – taking away the title from the Burj Khalifa, which sits about four miles to the west. The Tower, as it will be called, will be the new centerpiece for Dubai Creek Harbour, a large-scale multi-use development project.