BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Middle East
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 22:33 GMT
Thirteen dead in Dubai shipyard flood
ambulance leaving Dubai dry dock
About 150 injured were rushed to hospital
At least 13 workers are reported to have died in Dubai after a dry dock flooded with sea water.

The gate collapsed and sea water rushed in, filling the dock in few minutes, drowning many people. It was a horrible sight

The accident, which happened at 0930 (0530 GMT), occurred when two panels of a dock gate ruptured during maintenance work.

Police said the search for 23 workers still missing would continue on Thursday.

"The gate collapsed and sea water rushed in, filling the dock in few minutes, drowning many people. It was a horrible sight," a witness told Reuters news agency.

Officials at Dubai Drydocks, one of the world's biggest shipping repair facilities, said the casualty figures might rise as divers began rescue operations after the incident.

The US navy, which has a large deployment in the Gulf, has offered assistance, police brigadier Sharfuddin Hussein said.

Police and the Drydocks safety department are investigating why the panels ruptured.

Dubai Drydock workers
Many employees are expatriates from South Asia and the Philippines

A shipping source told Reuters there were about 500 workers inside the dock when the gate collapsed. He said the gate had been undergoing repair work since Monday.

A civil spokesman said about 50 workers, mostly Asian, were rescued.

The nationalities of those who died in the accident are not yet clear. Many of Dubai Drydocks' 4,000 employees are expatriate workers from South Asia and the Philippines.

The company says five vessels - a tanker, a cargo ship, a rig and two barges - were inside dry dock number two at the time.

The damage to the vessels is being assessed.

Gag order

Authorities have shut down the state-run facility, and barred all journalists who do not work for government media.

Dubai hospital officials said they had been ordered not to speak to the press.

A security official told Reuters about 150 injured had been brought to hospitals.

Police spokesman Brigadier Sharafedine Sayyed Hussein said most were only slightly hurt and have already been released.

"Only 23 of the injured require further medical attention," he said.

About 3,500 people work at Dubai Drydocks, which opened in 1983.

The company says it is the premier shipyard between Europe and the Far East, serving customers from more than 40 different companies.

Measuring nearly 200 hectares (500 acres), the dock is situated in its own private port with direct access to the sea through a 350 metre-wide entrance protected by four kilometres (2.5 miles) of breakwaters.

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories