Dubai authorities launched a probe on Thursday, investigating an explosion on a container ship carrying flammable material, which caused massive blast at Jebel Ali Port, one of the world’s busiest ports.
A blast was heard across parts of the UAE's city of Dubai on Wednesday night, with residents hearing a loud explosion, as Al Arabiya reported.
“A fire has been reported to have broken out in a container within a ship anchored in Jebel Ali Port. A Dubai Civil Defence team is working to put out the blaze”, Dubai media office wrote in a tweet.
At least four residents living in the Dubai Marina area reported hearing the explosion and said their windows and doors at their homes were shaken as a result of the blast, reported Al Arabiya.
Flames and smoke poured from the ship but authorities said it was doused within 40 minutes and that there were no casualties, with all 14 crew members evacuated safely before the explosion.
“Thank God, everything is safe. But this is a natural accident that happened in one of the containers, which was also carrying some flammable materials. There was no other reason, “Mona Al Marri, director of the Dubai Media Office, told Al-Arabiya television.
Dubai Police said three of the 130 containers on the ship held inflammable materials.
“Initial reports indicate that... friction, or heat, may have led to the blast”, Dubai Police chief Abdullah Al-Marri told media, adding that there were no radioactive substances or explosives present in the containers.
Jebel Ali Port is capable of handling aircraft carriers and was the US Navy’s busiest port of call outside of the United States in 2017, according to the US Congressional Research Service.
Global Logistics giant DP World tweeted that “operations are running seamlessly” across the port, thanking the local authorities for” their swift response in resolving the fire accident”.
There are 8,000 companies based in the Jebel Ali Free Zone(JAFZ) which contributed 23 percent of Dubai's GDP last year. It is the Middle East's largest trade zone.