Large Explosion Rocks Dubai's Jebel Ali Port

Dubai, UAE -

Large Explosion Rocks Dubai's Jebel Ali Port

Authorities report that a fiery explosion shook Dubai, the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates, late Wednesday after a container ship anchored in the port caught fire. The explosion occurred in Jebel Ali Port, the busiest port in the Middle East, which is on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula. Dubai's port is a vital part of the global trade network between eastern and western markets, as well as one of its most important gateways.

The explosion sent a shock wave through the city, shaking buildings and windows as far as 25 kilometres away from the port. A fiery ball illuminated the night sky, alarming residents filming from their high-rises. It is clear from the sheer strength and visibility of the explosion that a highly combustible substance is was present. A Dubai police commander told the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV that the fire appeared to have started in one of the containers holding "flammable material". It took over two hours after the blast, for Dubai's civil defence teams to bring the fire under control and start the "cooling process." The extent of damage caused to port was not immediately clear. The aftermath of the fire was pictured in social media footage showing charred containers and littered debris.

The Jebel Ali port in Dubai is one of the largest in the world and the largest in the Middle East. It serves cargo from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Asia. The port is not only a critical global cargo hub, but a lifeline for Dubai and surrounding emirates, serving as the point of entry for essential imports. The ship that exploded was identified as Ocean Trader flagged in Comoros. It is operated by the Dubai-based Inzu Ship Charter. The Ocean Trader docked at Jebel Ali Port at midday Wednesday. Ship tracking data showed the vessel had been sailing up and down the coast of the UAE since April. The vessel's owners were identified by the United Nations ship database as Sash Shipping corporation. No injuries have been reported so far.

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