Dubai court finds mishandled peroxide caused 2021 port blast

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Dubai court has found that a cargo ship’s mishandled peroxide caused an explosion at the city-state’s busy Jebel Ali port in 2021, a blast that was felt through the emirate, a state-linked newspaper reported Thursday.

The Dubai Misdemeanor Court sentenced five crew members on board the vessel to one-month suspended prison sentences and fined them 100,000 dirhams ($27,225) for not caring for the cargo and allowing fumes to build up, according to Abu Dhabi’s English-language newspaper The National.

Five other companies also have been fined 100,000 dirhams each over their role in the blast, the newspaper said. The peroxide arrived at the port on June 27 from China and was kept in direct sunlight for 12 days until the day of the incident, it added.

The newspaper said the ship’s Indian captain had maintained his innocence; the four other crew charged were from Pakistan. Prosecutors also said the blast injured five people, though authorities at the time insisted no one was hurt.

The July 7, 2021, explosion unleashed a shock wave through the city of Dubai, causing walls and windows to shake in neighborhoods as far as 25 kilometers (15 miles) away from the port. 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.

Jebel Ali Port, one of the the busiest in the Middle East, is also the busiest port of call for American warships outside of the United States.

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