A Dubai court sentenced the captain of the M/V Ocean Trader and four others in connection with last year’s massive fire and explosion aboard the ship in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port.
The incident took place on July 7, 2021 after the Ocean Merchant loaded containers for export, three of which contained hazardous organic peroxide. The fire broke out in one of the hazardous containers and caused an explosion that could be felt for miles around.
No one was killed in the crash, but five people suffered relatively minor injuries.
An investigation revealed that the containers containing organic peroxide had arrived at the port 12 days before the incident and were exposed to direct sunlight and scorching heat.
The court found that the organic compounds were allowed to decompose due to negligence by the freight company, the UAE-based The National reported. The decomposition led to an accumulation of gases which ignited and exploded upon loading onto the ship.
Prosecutors argued the master was responsible for the stowage plan and loaded the dangerous containers close together.
The captain allegedly denied any wrongdoing, arguing in vain that he had no idea the containers had been stored incorrectly and that he would not have loaded them if he had, according to The National. The captain apparently told the court that he noticed one of the containers was emitting smoke and immediately alerted shore personnel and ordered crew members to evacuate, an action that likely saved lives.
The fire was brought under control after approximately 44 minutes.
The court found the captain and four others guilty of wrongfully causing the incident and the resulting damage, as well as the injuries of five people, according to the report. Each was given a one-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of approximately $10,000. Five companies were also fined.