World Politics

Fire erupts on ship, causing explosion that rocks Dubai

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Key Points
  • The blaze sent up giant orange flames on a vessel docked at the crucial Jebel Ali Port, the busiest in the Middle East, which sits on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula.
  • The combustion unleashed a shock wave through the city, shaking buildings and windows in neighborhoods as far as 25 kilometers (15 miles) away from the port.
Plumes of smoke rise from a container ship anchored in Dubai's Jebel Ali port as emergency services try to contain the fire, in Dubai, UAE, July 7, 2021 in this still image taken from a video.
WAM | via Reuters

A container ship anchored in Dubai at one of the world's largest ports caught fire late Wednesday, authorities said, causing an explosion that sent tremors across the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates.

The blaze sent up giant orange flames on a vessel docked at the crucial Jebel Ali Port, the busiest in the Middle East, which sits on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula. The combustion unleashed a shock wave through the city, shaking buildings and windows in neighborhoods as far as 25 kilometers (15 miles) away from the port.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, the government said.

Dubai authorities issued a statement early Thursday saying that emergency services had brought the blaze under control. The Dubai Media Office posted footage of firefighters dousing giant shipping containers. The glow of the blaze was visible in the background as civil defense crews worked to contain the fire.

The extent of damage caused to the sprawling port and surrounding cargo was not immediately clear. The cause of the fire also was not immediately known.

At around 11:45 p.m., people in Dubai recording with their phones from high-rises at a distance posted frantic videos on social media showing a fiery ball illuminating the night sky.

The Jebel Ali Port at the northern end of Dubai is the largest man-made deep-water harbor in the world and the largest port in the Middle East. It's the busiest port of call for American warships outside of the U.S. and serves cargo from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Asia.