Jebel Ali Port authorities are continuing an extensive investigation on the cause of a fire that erupted onsite overnight Wednesday, the Dubai Media Office said in a press statement.
The explosion and fire that broke out in a container within a ship anchored in the port immediately before midnight, was brought under control within 40 minutes by the Civil Defense and Dubai Police, the statement added.
The fire was attributed to a natural accident, with the container storing flammable materials, a Dubai Government official told Al Arabiya.
Casualties were avoided 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, the media office said.
The crew of the ship numbered approximately fourteen, as reported.
A fire safety industry source told Al Arabiya English that Jebel Ali Port uses machinery to fulfil tasks, with a skeleton crew of staff only ever required at the time of the blast. “This is likely why there were no deaths and only minor injuries,” the source said.
The source added a caveat that the blast itself wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
“The chemicals caused a huge bang, with flames and smoke, and although it looks massive, it will have been contained pretty quickly and easily,” he said.
The ship had 30 containers, some with flammable materials, Dubai Police chief Abdullah Al Marri told Al Arabiya. Initial reports indicated that there may have been some friction or heat present that led to the explosion, the police chief added.
Port operations were not affected in any way due to the incident, which occurred in the older Terminal 1, used for small ships, the statement said. Terminal 2, 3 & 4 of the Port, where big ships dock & offload their cargo, continued normal operations even during the incident.