Fire erupts on ship at Dubai port, causing large explosion

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A container ship anchored at Dubai’s huge port caught fire late Wednesday, the emirate’s media office reported, causing an explosion that sent tremors across the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates.

The Twitter post from Dubai’s state-run media office said that a fire was reported to have erupted on a ship at the Jebel Ali port and that a team of firefighters was working to control the blaze.

Officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties. The extent of the damage caused by the explosion to the port and surrounding cargo was not immediately clear.

People in Dubai recording with their phones from their high-rises posted frantic videos on social media showing a fiery ball illuminating the night sky.

Witnesses reported shaking buildings across the city. Residents of neighborhoods as far away as 25 kilometers (15 miles) felt the blast around 11:45 p.m. Associated Press journalists felt the blast rock the glass windows of their apartments.

The Jebel Ali port in Dubai is one of the largest in the world and the largest in the Middle East. It serves cargo from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Asia. The port, operated by DP World, has four sprawling container terminals that can berth some of the world’s largest ships.

“I was outside on my balcony. My friend saw something yellow coming (like) the sun. I took the picture and after (there was) a sound,” said intern Clemence Lefaix, who is staying near the blast site and posted a photo of a bright orange light against the night sky in front of apartment buildings.

A resident of Dubai’s Madina district, close to the Jebel Ali port, told AFP they “saw the windows shaking.”

“I have been living here for 15 years and this is the first time I’ve seen and heard this,” they said.

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