Photo Credit: Fadi Shaheen / Wikimedia
Port of Latakia, northwestern Syria, June 2008

Syrian media reported Tuesday that there was an explosion and subsequent fire on a civilian vessel docked at the Port of Latakia on the northwestern Syrian coast.

Alarabiya TV journalist Ziad Halabi was quoted by Israel Hayom as saying the ship was an Iranian oil tanker that had docked in Latakia a few days earlier.


Two people sustained minor injuries in the incident, according to Syrian state television, which allegedly took place during maintenance work.

However, the Syrian Human Rights Observatory reported there were “a number” of wounded as well as extensive damage to the vessel.

The blast occurred during maintenance being carried out within the port, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported.

The Latakia Fire Brigade and the Civil Defense Department of the Latakia Port Company together extinguished the blaze, SANA reported.

“The fire caused a number of workers on the ship to suffer from shortness of breath, which necessitated their transfer to the hospital for treatment,” the Director-General of the port company, Amjad Suleiman, told SANA. “The workers were discharged from the hospital after they were provided oxygen and other required emergency measures.”

Suleiman said the ship was empty at the time of the blast.

Iranian Petrochemical Plant Ablaze
While officials were working to put out the blaze on the Iranian oil tanker in Syria, firefighters in Iran were working to extinguish the flames at a petrochemicals plant in the country.

The fire broke out Tuesday at a storage tank in a complex on the Persian Gulf island of Kharg.

“Fortunately this accident did not cause any casualties,” Kharg Petrochemical Company spokesperson Mohammad Ali Kazemipour told the Iranian oil ministry’s SHANA news agency.

“The blaze is now completely contained and we are carrying out cooling operations,” Kazemipour said.

the cause of the blaze is under investigation, he added.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.