Dhow catches fire again in Deira Creek

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Dhow catches fire again in Deira Creek

Plumes of thick black smoke covered Dubai as a cargo dhow, the same vessel which caught fire in February and was under repair, gutted on Deira Creek around 3.30pm on Sunday. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

By Muaz Shabandri, Sajila Saseendran & Amira Agarib

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Published: Mon 30 Apr 2012, 12:28 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Apr 2015, 1:27 PM

According to Afnan Aqeel, an eyewitness, the fire spread rapidly because of the windy weather, making it difficult to bring the fire under control quickly. The fire was contained in two hours as civil defence teams deployed fire-fighting boats to help the operation. Several cars parked near the port were damaged because of the fire.

Hundreds of onlookers gathered on both sides of the creek as traffic and parking areas were cordoned off.  Traffic snarls were reported in surrounding areas as it was being re-routed in a few roads. The smoke could be seen from as far as the Sheikh Zayed Road and Dubai Festival City.

The Dhow Wharfage is an important holding point for vessels which use the port facilities to load and off-load sea cargo.

Officials of the Dubai Municipality said the dhow should not have been allowed to do repair works at the wharfage area. Noting that the owners violated safety rules again, a senior official said the municipality, which had exempted them from fines and creek cleaning fees last time, will take action if the creek is polluted due to the latest fire.

“I’m very much surprised and it is very unfortunate that it is the same dhow which had caught fire earlier,” said Salem bin Mesmar, the Assistant Director-General of Health, Safety and Environment Monitoring Section.

“It was not supposed to be repaired at this site where other dhows are loading and unloading, especially when there is major maintenance works involving welding,” he told Khaleej Times.

Following a proposal from the municipality, Mesmar said, the Dubai Customs had held two rounds of meetings with officials from six different entities including the municipality, Dubai Police and the Civil Defence to ensure better safety standards in the vessels on Dubai Creek.

However, the Director of the Environmental Emergencies Office, Khaled Salem Suleiteen, said meetings should have been followed by immediate actions. “It’s a big problem and it is a tourist area... We need to tackle it immediately. They should have taken it to Jaddaf or Rashid Port for repairs,” said Suleiteen, who visited the site.

“Last time our Director-General had waived off the fees for removing the debris and cleaning the creek. This time we are not going to do it. Also, we will fine them if the creek is polluted and the marine environment is affected,” the official said.

Mahmood Hamed, spokesperson of the Dubai Civil Defence, said that the fire-fighting operation was supervised by Major-General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, Director of the Dubai Civil Defence. Fire brigades from six civil defence stations rushed immediately to the site to control the fire, he added. He said there were some flammable materials which caused thick smoke in the area, adding that fire fighting and forensic experts will examine the fire scene and determine the cause of fire.

news@khaleejtimes.com



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