x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

40 firefighters needed to douse blaze that gutted dhows on Dubai Creek

The fire started at 9.25am on one of the traditional wooden boats, moored near Al Jadaf dockyard for repairs. It quickly spread to two other vessels alongside.

Three boats caught fire in Al Jadaf on Dubai Creek this morning at about 9am. Preeti Kannan / The National
Three boats caught fire in Al Jadaf on Dubai Creek this morning at about 9am. Preeti Kannan / The National

DUBAI// A fire that destroyed two dhows on Dubai Creek could have been sparked by a generator, said the company that owns the vessels.

The fire started on Sunday at 9.25am on one of the traditional wooden boats, moored near Al Jadaf dockyard for repairs. It quickly spread to two other vessels alongside.

All three dhows belonged to Obaid Bin Juma Suloom, a Dubai shipbuilding and repairs company.

“The boat that was undergoing maintenance was burnt,” said Majid Obaid, the managing director. “It could have been a generator. We don’t know yet. The other two were standing next to it and caught fire.”

Mr Obaid said the vessel where the fire started was carrying 10 to 15 barrels of diesel.

“There are rumours that there was lots of diesel,” he said. “It is just diesel which was used for the boat.”

Only one of the boats, which are between 80ft and 100ft, could be salvaged. The other two were too badly damaged and will be scrapped. None of the dhows’ crew or other workers were on board at the time.

“As long as my people are safe, money is not a problem. There is no damage to the environment,” Mr Obaid said.

Thick plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from the burning boats, with members of the public hearing explosions and posting photos of the fire on social-media sites Facebook and Twitter.

An official at Dubai Municipality said it would send a team to check if the fire had caused any damage to the surrounding area or if any diesel had leaked into the creek.

A spokesman for Dubai Civil Defence said the nearby Floating Bridge was closed as a precaution after the fire was reported. It reopened after a few hours.

“Dubai Civil Defence received the report at about 9.25am,” the spokesman said.

It took more than 40 firefighters –  on land and in specialist boats –  about an hour to contain the blaze, which burned for several hours.

One of the dhows was moved away from the shore to prevent the fire from spreading further.

pkannan@thenational.ae

wissa@thenational.ae