Ammonium nitrate shipment standing behind Beirut Port explosion ordered by Mozambican firm

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Sun, 09 Aug 2020 - 10:38 GMT

Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon August 4, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon August 4, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

CAIRO – 9 August 2020: Spokesperson of the Fabrica de Explosivos de Mozambique issued a statement Friday on the ammonium nitrate shipment that exploded in Beirut Port on August 4 killing 137 and injuring 5,000 in addition to the disappearance of 80 others.

 

The firm pointed out that it ordered the shipment seven years ago from Georgia and that it was never delivered as it was confiscated in Beirut port.

 

The company explained that the shipment was intended to enter in the manufacturing of explosives used in mining. "This shipment is the only that didn't arrive. That's not common. Not common at all. Usually, when you order something, it's not common you don't get it. That shipment is not like a shipment lost in courier. It's a large amount," the spokesperson said.  

 

The shipment left Georgia in September 2013 on a Moldovan cargo ship called MV Rhosus which anchored in Beirut Port in November 2013. The ship's Russian captain, Boris Prokoshev, told the BBC on Friday that the vessel stopped at the port because the owner had no money to pay for passage through the Suez Canal.

 

The alternative was carrying a machinery shipment to cover the fees but the new load was proven to be heavy. When the owner failed to pay the fees and fine to Lebanese authorities, the ship was impounded. However, the captain and the other crew member were repatriated. In 2014, the shipment was moved to Warehouse 12 located next to the grain silos as the ship was abandoned by owners.

 

The Mozambican firm did not pay for the shipment because it did not receive it, and instead, it ordered another one. The spokesperson expressed his surprise that the shipment was stored for all those years underlining that the ammonium nitrate is more explosible than gunpowder as it only requires one lit match to immediately detonate like fireworks.

 

Commenting on the size of the shipment that is 2,750 tons, the firm said that the amount is much less that what is consumed in one month highlighting that some countries' consumption stands at one million tons per annum.

 

The governor of Beirut stated on August 5 that the damages at the port are worth $15 billion. That is in addition to the devastation of the surrounding neighborhoods. The Lebanese capital was visited on August 6 by French President Emanuel Macron who stressed solidarity with the Levant country. 

 

3 Egyptians killed in Beirut Port explosion

CAIRO - 5 August 2020: The Egyptian embassy in Beirut reported the death of three Egyptians in Tuesday's port's explosion, and that measures are being taken to transport the bodies to their homeland.

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