UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – FRN is seeking confirmation of powerful explosions that have been reported in the Emirati port of al-Fujairah, where seven oil tankers are said to have caught fire. All together, FRN’s best assessment is that these and similar reports from May 8th, may be connected to a larger psychological warfare operation underway, which Iranian authorities have accused the U.S of conducting with its deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln to the Persian Gulf.
The blasts are said to have taken place early on Sunday morning, according to the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen television channel, which reported the development hours later.
Images circulating on social media were revealed to be of an August fire related to a Hong-Kong incident, casting serious doubts on the claims of an Emirati port attack or accident of some kind.
However, on May 8th, ‘Maritime-Executive.com’ reported:
On Wednesday, first responders rescued 13 crewmembers from a burning vessel in Sharjah, UAE.
The vessel, a small cargo ship, was carrying about 6,000 gallons of diesel, plus 300 tires and 120 vehicles, according to Sharjah’s civil defense agency. The fire broke out at about 0645 hours and firefighters arrived on scene at 0725.
13 Indian nationals were rescued from the vessel and were given medical attention. They were unharmed and none required hospitalization, Major Hani Al Naqbi of Sharjah Civil Defence told The National.
The cargo is believed to be unsalvageable, and images from the scene show rows of burned cars on the vessel’s deck.
After visible flames and smoke were extinguished, photos taken by The National indicate that the vessel settled low in the water and listed to starboard as firefighting tugs continued to cool it with fire monitors; the water’s surface can be seen overtopping the starboard rail.
With regard to today’s alleged incident – Iran’s PressTV claims:
It said the seven oil tankers were completely burnt and that firefighters were still trying to extinguish the blaze.
Some social media activists said that American and French aircraft of unspecified type were flying over the port.
Al Mayadeen did not say what had caused the explosions or the fire.
Later, the media office of the government of Fujairah denied the report of the explosions altogether, saying that transit and other activities at the port were underway as usual. Additionally, Brigadier Ali Obaid al-Taniji, the director of the department of civil defense in Fujairah, told the Emarat al-Youm daily that there had been no fire or explosion at the port.
Despite the UAE government’s denial, witnesses have emphasized that the blasts have taken place and some media sources have even went further, identifying a number of oil tankers hit by the explosions by their hull numbers as follows:
Marij oil tanker
Alamijal oil tanker
Khamsa 10 oil tanker
Earlier this week, a number of powerful explosions rocked Saudi Arabia’s port city of Yanbu’, an important petroleum shipping terminal for the kingdom. Reports, however, fell short of giving any reason for the blasts or possible casualties.
No further details have been made available up to this moment and no group or individual has assumed responsibility for the blasts.
Yanbu’ is an important petroleum shipping terminal for Saudi Arabia and home to three oil refineries, a plastics facility and several other petrochemical plants.
The Fujairah Government for its part has denied reports of the alleged explosions in the UAE (not to be confused with the Yanbu explosions previously in the KSA – ed) that claimed a series of explosions had rocked the emirate’s port on Sunday. Operations at Fujairah Port are continuing as usual, the emirate’s government media office has said.
The claims, which were circulated on social media and published by some news outlets, alleged there had been some explosions at dawn, and that between seven and 10 docked oil tankers had caught fire.
The government’s media office issued a statement on Sunday saying there had been no such explosions and that work was continuing as normal at Fujairah port.
It also called on media organisations to be accurate in their reporting and to only publish information once it was confirmed by official sources.
المكتب الإعلامي لحكومة الفجيرة ينفي صحة التقارير الإعلامية التي تتحدث عن انفجارات قوية هزت ميناء الفجيرة الإماراتي فجر اليوم، ويؤكد أن حركة العمل في الميناء تجري وفق المعتاد، ويدعو وسائل الإعلام إلى تحري الدقة والاعتماد على المصادر الرسمية. pic.twitter.com/hVNtuylXq0
— FUJAIRAH mediaoffice (@FjMediaoffice) May 12, 2019
Fujairah’s harbour master, who was on site at the time, also confirmed that there was no truth to the reports.
Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV and the Russian news agency Sputnik were among the outlets to promote the story.