Floodgate Breaks at Dubai Drydock

At least five people have been killed and 150 injured after a floodgate at a drydock in Dubai ruptured causing seawater to rush in and quickly fill the area. The accident occurred around 10:00 a.m. (1:00 a.m. ET) on Wednesday during repair operations on the two panels of the dock gate. The gate had been undergoing repair work since Monday. An estimated 500 people were working in the area at the time of accident. 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 rig under going repairs at the time of the accident was the jackup, Nabors 657 (ex-Key Bermuda). Nabors Offshore recently purchased the rig from GlobalSantaFe.

The drydock is one of the largest in the world, covering 500 meters by 100 meters. The dock is situated in its own private port with direct access to the sea through a 350 meter-wide entrance protected by four kilometers of breakwaters.

Officials at the state-owned Dubai Drydocks said the casualty figures might rise as divers began rescue operations. "Just before the incident, I saw many workers on the ground repairing some ships. The ships floated and started colliding with each other," one witness said. 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.