Dhow fire throws up questions

THE FIRE that engulfed and sank a dhow laden with fire-crackers and other highly inflammable material including toys yesterday has thrown up several questions which concern coordination between various departments to ensure safety. That the Civil Defence put out the fire before it reached hundreds of other boats and dhows anchored along the creek is another matter.

By Catch Of The Day

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Published: Tue 18 Oct 2005, 10:31 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:51 PM

The moot question is whether the dhow owner disclosed the cargo of firecrackers to Dubai Customs, and if he had indeed done that, did the customs authorities in turn inform the civil defence, which is the competent authority of such issues? This would have facilitated proper supervision of the storage of such inflammable cargo to ensure safety and security in the area.

According to sources, there was neither coordination nor communication between the Customs and the Civil Defence regarding the cargo on the dhow. In fact, the Civil Defence did not have any information about the possibility of other boats carrying such cargo.

One official explained to us that any cargo of firecrackers is insured once they arrive on the UAE shores, and the cargo is then transferred and stored under the supervision of the Civil Defence. The fire, according to first reports on the accident, was caused by improper storage on the boat.

This brings us back to the question — Why didn't the Customs authorities alert the Civil Defence about the inflammable cargo? Was the dhow checked by the Customs to verify safety standards? Answers to these questions should throw some light on the goings on in the departments.

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