A fiery explosion on a container ship has sent a shock wave through Dubai and damaged one of the world’s largest ports.

The blaze sent up giant orange flames on a vessel at the crucial Jebel Ali Port, which is the busiest port in the Middle East and sits on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula.

The explosion unleashed a shock wave through the skyscraper-studded city of Dubai, causing walls and windows to shake in neighbor hoods as far as 25 kilometers away.

Panicked residents filmed from their high-rises as a fiery ball illuminated the night sky.

The blast was powerful enough to be seen from space by satellite.

There were no immediate reports of casualties at the port.

Dubai’s civil defence teams said they had brought the fire under control and started the “cooling process” roughly two-and-a-half hours after the blast.

Authorities posted to social media video of firefighters dousing giant shipping containers.

The glow of the blaze remained visible in the background as civil defence crews worked to contain the fire.

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

Footage shared on social media in the aftermath showed charred containers, ashes and littered debris.

Dubai authorities told the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV the crew had evacuated in time and the fire appeared to have started in one of the containers holding “flammable material”.


Seeking to downplay the explosion, Mona al-Marri, director-general of the Dubai Media Office, told Al-Arabiya the incident could have happened “anywhere in the world” and authorities were investigating the cause.

The Jebel Ali Port, at the northern end of Dubai, is the largest man-made deep-water harbour in the world and it serves cargo from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Asia.

The port is not only a critical global cargo hub, but a lifeline for Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, serving as the point of entry for essential imports.

Dubai authorities did not identify the stricken ship beyond saying it was a small vessel with a capacity of 130 containers.

Ship tracker MarineTraffic showed a fleet of small support vessels surrounding a docked container ship called the Ocean Trader flagged in Comoros.

Footage from the scene rebroadcast by the UAE’s state-run WAM news agency showed firefighters hosing down a vessel bearing paint and a logo that corresponds to the Ocean Trader, which is operated by the Dubai-based Inzu Ship Charter.

The Ocean Trader docked at Jebel Ali Port at midday on Wednesday.

Ship-tracking data showed the vessel had been sailing up and down the coast of the UAE since April.

The United Nations ship database identified the vessel’s owners as Sash Shipping corporation.

Sash and Inzu Ship Charter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.(ABC NEWS)


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