Traders lose over SSP200M in Juba’s boat fire

Traders lose over SSP200M in Juba’s boat fire
The aftermath of the boat fire accident at Juba Port. [Yiep Joseph, City Review]

Traders are counting losses after three commercial boats, loaded with goods, caught fire at Gabat Port in Juba, on Wednesday evening.

The fire broke out at around 3 pm following an explosion at a fueling point, preliminary investigations say.

The boats were loaded with goods estimated to be in the region of SSP130 million. The goods were destined for Unity State.

Alfadil Musa Abaker, of the traders, claimed he lost over $180,000 (SSP117 million) worth of goods in the fire accident.

“We loaded this boat with more than 160 metric tonnes of goods to be taken to Unity State; unfortunately, the boat got burned, and I have lost about $200,000 (SSP130 million),” Abaker said.

He added that his boat was purely carrying goods, but one of the boats that was carrying fuel caught fire, which caused the whole damage.

He filed the case with the police for an investigation to probe the cause of the fire.

However, Deng Gon Garang, a boat manager said the fire was caused by an explosion that occurred while fueling one of the boats.

“I was in my boat [when the incident happened], and one of the drums exploded while people were fueling one of the boats,” Deng said.

“What I am suspecting is that when there is much heat, the drums usually burst while fueling,” he added.

He added that his boat got burned and needs a lot of money to repair it.

Deng said that his boat was hired and loaded with 200 bags of cement, watering cans, and some medicines, all of which got damaged.

He said that he lost over SSP700,000 in cash and goods of unknown value.

“It is a huge loss to me; I was keeping SSP700,000 in this boat. All of them got burned,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kuong Riek Dobuol, also a board manager, said that one of the boats got completely burned to ashes during the incident.

Kuong said the investigation is ongoing to ascertain the exact cause of the fire.

Last year, a similar incident occurred in which one of the commercial boats carrying fuel was completely gutted.

Also in October 2013, a boat offloading fuel at the Juba Port caught fire. The burning boat caused damage to at least one other motorboat at the scene, but there were no casualties caused by the blaze.