A fire caused by an explosion on a ship at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port, the Middle East’s largest transshipment hub, has been brought under control, the government’s Dubai Media Office (DMO) said on Wednesday.

The explosion was a “normal accident” in a container holding flammable material, DMO Director General Mona Al Marri told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television channel.

Arabiya cited Dubai police as saying the cause may have been “friction or high temperatures” during the hot summer months.

Witnesses in residential areas between 15 km and 22 km from Jebel Ali had heard the blast.

DMO said in a statement that there were no casualties or injuries. It posted footage of water being pumped to douse flames and debris at the scene.


There appeared to be normal movement of vehicles in and out of the port while civil defense vehicles continued to arrive at around 2100 GMT, Reuters witnesses said.

Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is the region’s trade, business and tourism hub. Port authorities are taking necessary measures to ensure normal movement of ships, the DMO said.

“A fire caused by an explosion within a container onboard a ship at Jebel Ali Port has been brought under control; no casualties have been reported,” DMO said on Twitter.

It said the ship, which was not identified, was preparing to dock at a berth “away from the port’s main shipping line”.

Al Arabiya cited the Dubai government as saying the ship’s crew had been evacuated in time.

State-owned DP World, which owns Jebel Ali Port, had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

Jebel Ali port handled 13.5 million shipping containers in 2020, down 4.4% year-on-year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom and Nayera Abdallah and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Sandra Maler, Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)


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