DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Firefighting boats pour cascades of water on a container ship that had erupted in a fiery explosion at Dubai’s main port last night, rocking the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates.
Satellite images captured by Planet Labs Inc. and analyzed by The Associated Press show that intensive efforts to cool the Ocean Trader are continuing some 12 hours after the blast at Jebel Ali port, as fireboats douse the area with water. Authorities say the explosion caused no casualties and they were still investigating the cause.
The photos also show a thin sheen of what appeared to be an oil-water mix spreading from the vessel into the gulf. Dubai authorities reported a “leakage” from the ship, without elaborating. They said the ship had been carrying containers full of unspecified “flammable materials.”
The blast, which sent a giant fireball skyward late Wednesday and shook homes and high-rises in several neighborhoods across Dubai, was powerful enough to be seen from space by satellite. Panicked residents filmed the eerie orange glow over Dubai’s futuristic skyline, reporting trembling walls and windows over 15 miles away from the port.
Dubai authorities vigorously sought to stem the fallout from the explosion, praising the “record time” it took firefighters to contain the flames and stressing the crucial port operations had not experienced any disruption. The port is “running seamlessly,” celebratory headlines in state-linked media declared.