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Explosion rocks container ship docked in Dubai

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An explosion inside a container on a ship docked at Dubai’s Jebel Ali port has rocked the city and sparked a massive blaze.

Authorities said there were no reported deaths or injuries and the fire was under control by late Wednesday (local time).

“A fire has been reported to have broken out in a container within a ship anchored in Jebel Ali Port. A Dubai Civil Defence team is working to put out the blaze,” Dubai Media Office said in a tweet on its official account.

It posted a video of firefighters putting out the blaze at the port.

CNN personnel in Dubai reported hearing and feeling the blast, which shook buildings as far as 15 kilometres away. Social media video showed a large ball of fire burst from the port area lighting up the night sky.

There were initial reports the blast had come from an oil tanker. But DMO director-general Mona Al Marri told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television channel the fire was caused by an explosion from a “normal accident” in a container holding flammable material.

The extend of damage to the surrounding area is not yet clear.

Dubai is the United Arab Emirates’ trade, business and tourism hub. The Associated Press reports it is also the busiest port of call for US warships outside the United States.

The DMO said the ship, which was not identified, was preparing to dock at a berth “away from the port’s main shipping line”.

Al Arabiya cited the Dubai government as saying the ship had been evacuated in time.

DP World, which owns Jebel Ali Port, had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

Witnesses described hearing the blast while fire trucks and other emergency vehicles could be seen heading south of Dubai, one Reuters correspondent said.

Port authorities were taking the necessary measures to ensure normal movement of ships, the DMO said.

-with AAP