Fire engulfs Sharjah cargo port

UPDATE 11am: Port Khalid re-opens following the biggest oil terminal fire the emirate has ever seen.
Fire engulfs Sharjah cargo port
By Safura Rahimi, Lynne Roberts and Reuters
Sun 19 Aug 2007 12:10 AM

Sharjah’s main cargo port has officially re-opened following the biggest oil terminal fire the emirate has ever seen.

Shipping resumed at Port Khalid on Saturday at around 5.00pm after being closed for most of the day while emergency crews battled to put out the blaze that broke out around 10:30pm on Friday.

The fire engulfed two oil reservoirs as well as hundreds of barrels of oil products, with flames reaching a height of 200 metres, according to eyewitnesses.

Three people were treated for smoke inhalation, according to local press, but police said no one was seriously injured.

Rashed Al-Leem, Director-General of Sharjah's Hamiriyah Ports, Customs and Duty Free Zone, said that the port had not been badly damaged.

"Activity at the port did not stop except for a short period of no more than seven hours... to facilitate the security forces bringing in the necessary fire extinguishing equipment," Leem told the state news agency WAM. "After that activity returned to what it was before."

The fire started around 10.30pm at the oil storage facility of Emirates Lube Oil Company.

Lieutenant General Saif Al-Shaafar, undersecretary for the Ministry of Interior described it was the biggest oil terminal fire the emirate had ever experienced.

"The damage and the reason for the fire are still unknown but the damaged area is very big," Leem said on Saturday.

Port Khalid, on Sharjah's Gulf coast, handles the majority of its general cargo traffic and has a 13-berth deep water harbour. Sharjah's other main port is at Khor Fakkan on the Indian Ocean coast, well away from the blaze.

UAE Interior Minister Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, who visited the site, has thanked the emergency services for getting the fire under control before it spread to other areas of the port and said authorities were looking into the incident to prevent it from happening again.

For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.