update(4:55pm): Naturally, anytime there's a major blast at a central Persian Gulf port, the immediate questions raised include accident or sabotage? This also given the past 'tanker wars' between Iran and the US-Saudi-Israel nexus.
Very quickly in the aftermath, speculation and various theories including that it could have been an Iran tanker angle abounded; however, the source of the blaze does appear to be a container ship docked at the port...
That’s not the J PIONEER, that’s the Ocean Trader. pic.twitter.com/LWS6s6u3Zp— Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) July 7, 2021
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At about midnight local time, residents across Dubai began taking to social media to report a mysterious huge blast which shook buildings across the entire city. Initial photos showed an extensive out of control blaze at Jebel Ali - the city's large commercial port.
Major regional source Al-Arabiya is now confirming a ship docked at the port exploded amid rumors that an oil tanker ignited, with the fire still raging. "A blast was heard across parts of the UAE’s city of Dubai on Wednesday night, with residents hearing a loud explosion, according to witnesses," Al-Arabia writes.
This was the explosion heard across Dubai tonight. Details to follow. Praying all are safe. Via @xmufaxsam_ pic.twitter.com/pGUPYx0rUj— Lovin Dubai | لوڤن دبي (@lovindubai) July 7, 2021
Initial video taken by a resident from far away from the port shows a massive fireball lighting up the night sky.
Images from near the port show a monstrous blaze engulfing the whole area...
"Reports of a major explosion and fire at an oil tanker," according to Iran International, however, the cause is still unknown and it's still unclear just what blew up.
But Reuters has followed with:
Fire has been reported to have broken out in a container within a ship anchored in Jebel Ali Port. Dubai civil defense team is working to put out the blaze
Satellite images confirm the site the blast:
Judging from the crane design and color (which varies in different sections) I'd say the explosion took place close to this side of Dubai's Jebel Ali port. 24.995290° 55.065286° pic.twitter.com/f7gr1Yddps— Fabian Hinz (@fab_hinz) July 7, 2021
UAE has been front and center in international headlines of late, given the Gulf country is the reason why OPEC failed to reach an oil production deal, currently engaged in a huge standoff with GCC big brother Saudi Arabia over how much oil to pump.
الحريق تحت السيطرة ولا توجد أي وفيات أو إصابات جراء الحادث في ميناء جبل علي pic.twitter.com/cQAVRDSa5c— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) July 7, 2021
Within a mere hour after the explosion, Dubai authorities have claimed to have brought the main blaze under control.