At least one person is confirmed to have died in the fire that gutted two large dhows at the Deira Creek in Dubai Tuesday evening.
Although officials have confirmed the death of one person who jumped out of an Iranian dhow, a civil defence staff and a Dubai police rescue staff present at the site said the death toll has risen to two.
An Iranian boat and an Indian vessel, that was filled with cargo bound for Somalia caught fire late afternoon. One of the sailors from the Iranian vessel jumped into the water and got caught in the propeller. “His body was cut into two, when it was recovered later by the rescue officials,” said one eyewitness.
The Indian ship is owned by Majid Kasim from Kutch in Gujarat. Mohammed Usman Bholim, also from Kutch who is overseeing the operations here told Emirates 24|7 that the vessel was fully loaded and was scheduled to depart for Somalia this morning. “It has been the most unfortunate incident. We had loaded the vehicle with general cargo, which included several cars, textiles and other material. The cause of the fire was an accident in the Iranian vessel. The sparks just flew to our vessel which was parked nearby. From then on it was just chaotic. The cargo is completely destroyed,” said Bholim.
Abdul Wahab from Somalia to whom the cargo belonged, however, was unable to ascertain the extent of financial loss. “It is covered by insurance. We are still trying to ascertain the extent of the damage,” said Wahab.
The identity of the dead is still not known. “No one from our vessel has been killed. There were ten men from our vessel and I counted ten men last night before they were taken by the police for questioning,” said Bholim. The men continue to remain in police custody. No one from the Iranain vessel was available for comment.
Rescue officials from the Dubai Civil Defence meanwhile were continuing to douse the fire. “The fire started last evening just before 4pm. We brought it under control within three hours. However, since one of the vessels is fully loaded it is taking us longer to finish the task,” said one civil defence official. The vessel was still being emptied of burnt cargo as of 1pm Wednesday afternoon.
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