Confiscated Cargo Of Russian Ship Led To Beirut Disaster

7 Aug, 2020 10:21 IST|Sakshi Post

Beirut Blast that took place on Tuesday sent shockwaves across the city, causing widespread damage as far as the outskirts of Lebanon's capital. Officials linked the blast to approximately 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was stored in the Beirut port warehouse that exploded on Tuesday.

Boris Prokoshev, the captain of Russian ship named the MV Rhosus asserted that the chemicals that resulted in Beirut's Blast arrived in Lebanese capital six years ago on a leaky Russian leased cargo ship. The ship was destined for Mozambique but it stopped at Beirut due to some financial difficulties which also caused unrest with the Russian and Ukrainian crew.

The crew were asked to load some heavy road equipment and to carry it to Jordan's Port of Aqaba before returning to Africa. The ship didn't leave Beirut and the stranded sailors lived in penury on the ship for 11 months. Port authorities of Beirut have not permitted to unload the cargo or move to another ship.

The captain added that the owner told him to make an unscheduled stop in Lebanon to pick up extra cargo. Ammonium nitrate was finally unloaded in the Beirut port by November 2014. It was kept in the hangar for six years.

According to Lebanon's Director of Customs, Badri Daher, "The ship never left the port of Beirut despite repeated warnings from him and others. The cargo was equivalent to a floating bomb."

Daher's predecessor, Chafic Merhi, wrote in a 2016 letter addressed to a judge involved in the case, "Due to the extreme danger posed by this stored items in an unsuitable climate conditions, we reiterate our request to the Port Authorities to re-export the goods immediately to maintain the safety of the port and those working in it."

Lebanon's general security chief also asserted that "highly explosive material" had been seized years earlier and held in a warehouse just a few minutes' walk from Beirut shopping and nightlife districts. More than 5,000 injured and 135 dead in Tuesday's massive explosion.

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