Extensive inquiry into Dubai container ship blast

Eudore R. Chand

DUBAI 9 July 2021: Jebel Ali Port authorities are continuing an extensive investigation into the cause of the fire that broke out on Wednesday in a container in a ship carrying flammable materials.

In a statement, Jebel Ali Port said the Dubai Civil Defense, Dubai Police and other related authorities, took rapid action at the site to fully put out the fire in under 40 minutes.

“Prudent action ensured that operations were not affected in any way due to the incident, which occurred in the older Terminal 1, used only for small ships. Terminal 2, 3 and 4 of the Port, where big ships dock and offload their cargo, continued normal operations even during the incident,” it added.

”Casualties were avoided also due to the quick action of Jebel Ali Port’s officials who ordered an evacuation of the vessel and the immediate area when a leakage and smoke was seen,” it went on to say.

Following the fire, Dubai Civil Defense, Jebel Ali Port, Dubai Police and other relevant authorities also took immediate measures to ensure operations across the Port, including Terminal 1 where the incident took place, continued normally without any interruption.

On Wednesday, Dubai Media Office said a fire caused by an explosion within a container on board a ship at Jebel Ali Port has been brought under control.

UAE took swift action in containing fire: Suhail Al Mazrouei

Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, has said that the UAE took swift action in containing the fire at Jebel Ali Port, showcasing its robust responsibility to control maritime accidents and manage risks.

“We appreciate and commend the efforts of the teams who contributed to containing the fire that broke out at 11:55pm on Wednesday, July 7th, 2021, due to a blaze onboard the container ship “Ocean Trader”, he said in a media statement on Thursday.

At the helm of the rescue operations were the DP World, UAE Region team, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority and personnel from the Dubai Civil Defense and the Dubai Police, he added, noting that the evacuation procedure of the ship’s crew and workers on the berth was carried out promptly.

While containing the fire and ensuring no fatalities, the rescue team also took the necessary safety measures to ensure that there were no radioactive materials on the ship, the Minister said.

Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure

“This robust response comes as a result of years of pro-active planned preparation in developing world-class infrastructure in the ports and marine facilities in the UAE,” he added. “Our primary aim is to place safety first, in addition to investing heavily in early warning systems and immediate communication with civil defence teams and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.”

“This approach has enabled us to take all necessary measures immediately. The concerted efforts of the teams and the availability of state-of-the-art equipment to tackle such an event ensured the resumption of all operational and logistical operations in Jebel Ali Port,” read the statement.

“Our priority now is to safeguard the marine environment by monitoring the situation and preventing the release of harmful substances in the water body,” he said, adding that the Maritime Department at the Ministry will continue investigations to gain insights and chart out a blueprint in coordination with the relevant international authorities to intensify precautionary measures.

Al Mazrouei concluded, “We assure the people of Dubai and the UAE, including individuals, institutions and those associated with the maritime sector, that the logistics and operational facilities of Jebel Ali Port have not suffered any damage, and the accident has not affected the movement of ships due to its distance from the main shipping line and the water channel in the port. By virtue of our commitment to safety protocols and maintaining the efficiency of providing integrated marine and logistical services with the highest standards of quality and speed, we reaffirm that the UAE, owing to its premier ports, will continue to hold the title of being a leading maritime centre in the region and around the globe.”

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Dubai Gazette