The scene of the explosion at RAK port Image Credit: Courtesy RAK Police

Ras Al Khaimah: An Indian fisherman was killed and six others were injured when a fishing boat exploded at the port in Al Rams in Ras Al Khaimah on Tuesday evening.

The injured fishermen suffered minor to moderate injuries and were transferred to the hospital in Ras Al Khaimah for treatment and discharged later while the body of the victim was moved to the hospital morgue.

The flames quickly spread to four other fishing boats that were at the port.

The fishing vessel in which the fire started and two others docked nearby were owned by an Emirati, Mohammad Ahmad Hanbaloo, while the fourth boat was owned by Mohammad Al Hinyawi.

The boats were not insured, owners told Gulf News, because they had great difficulty getting maritime insurance to protect their vessels against calamity.

One of the fishermen, who was at the port when the accident occurred, said that the explosion happened when the captain, Mohammad Hanbalo, and his crew of six fishermen returned from a fishing trip.

The captain had gone to pray at a nearby mosque and when he came back, they all heard an explosion and saw a fire spreading across four boats.

Colonel Sulaiman Mohammad Al Kaizi from RAK Police said preliminary investigations revealed that the deceased had started the engine of the boat when it was docked. The explosion was the result of a gas leak and it spread to other boats, causing five of them to explode.

Two men were severely injured and the rest were immediately sent for treatment of their injuries. Hospital reports indicate that they are better now.

Al Kaizi said there are no criminal suspicions and that the accident report has been sent to the authorities for legal action and to clarify the reasons behind the explosion.

Residents at Al Rams said they heard explosions about six kilometres away from the port where the accident took place.

Speaking to Gulf News, a group of fishermen complained that insurance companies in Ras Al Khaimah refuse to insure fishing boats.

“Accidents such as explosion of fuel tanks, or collisions between fishing boats are bound to happen and they do happen often. When they do, owners of the fishing boats have to pay for everything, including compensation costs for damages, physical injuries, and compensation for any deaths. This is disastrous and could totally end their business,” Captain Hanbaloo said.

Fishermen and boat owners are appealing to the government of Ras Al Khaimah to force insurance companies to provide insurance for fishing boats and provide its owners with legal protection.

Fishermen have also voiced their requests to the fishermen’s association to pressure insurance companies to provide services to them.

No damage estimate was available for the four vessels that were deemed a complete loss by officials.