The ship Rhosus, which delivered ammonium nitrate cargo to Beirut, sank off the northern part of the port of Beirut in February 2018, reports RIA Novosti citing the New York Times, which, in turn, analyzed data on the movement of ships and analyzed images from satellites.
Rhosus embarked on his last journey from Georgia’s Batumi in September 2013. The vessel, according to the newspaper, was heading to Mozambique, but had to make an unscheduled stop in Beirut to pick up additional cargo. As the former captain of the ship Boris Prokoshev told the publication, they “had to earn extra money to pay for the passage through the Suez Canal.” According to lawyers acting on behalf of the ship’s creditors, the additional cargo was supposed to be delivered to Jordan.
However, in Beirut, the port administration, having discovered numerous shortcomings, confiscated the vessel, and the crew members were ordered to remain on board. In August 2014, the crew was released, and the ship remained abandoned. The cargo from Rhosus, about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, was transported by the Lebanese authorities to the port warehouse.
In 2015, as the newspaper notes, the ship was moved about 300 meters up from the parking lot where it was staying, so as not to interfere with the movement of ships. According to the publication, based on an analysis of satellite photographs, in February 2018, the ship began to sink and sank under water within a few days.
On August 4, at about 18:00, a powerful explosion thundered in the port of Beirut. According to the Lebanese government, about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate (ammonium nitrate) exploded, which were stored in a warehouse in the port for six years after the seizure on the Rhosus ship (according to documents, it went from Georgia to Mozambique under the flag of Moldova, belonged to a Russian citizen, the crew was Russian -Ukrainian). According to the preliminary investigation, the explosion was the result of long-term storage of ammonium nitrate in improper conditions; the immediate cause of the explosion was the ignition of fireworks stored nearby, which ignited from sparks while welding the metal hangar door. Investigation has begun, suspects have been detained. But it is obvious that a lot of people are guilty of what happened, both who made decisions on dangerous goods and who did not make any decisions on this issue, although they had the authority to do so. At this stage of the investigation, the Lebanese authorities reject the version of someone’s malicious actions. Even Hezbollah said Israel was not involved in the explosion.
As a result of the explosion, a funnel with a radius of about 70 meters was formed at the site of the 12th hangar. Dozens of other hangars have been destroyed. The ship, which was located near the 12th hangar, was destroyed. Another ship capsized. Two more cargo ships were damaged. Enormous damage was caused to buildings, infrastructure and vehicles within a radius of about 2 km from the epicenter of the explosion. About 250 thousand people lost their homes, as their homes were completely or partially destroyed. Among other things, the stock of wheat stored in the port was destroyed.
According to preliminary estimates of the Lebanese authorities, the damage from the powerful explosion in the port of Beirut, which thundered on August 4, amounts to up to $ 15 billion, which could have catastrophic consequences for the economy of the country, which is going through a severe crisis.
The Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) reported the arrest of 16 people as part of an investigation into an explosion in the port of Beirut. A spokesman for the military court, Fadi Akiki, told reporters that all the detainees were working at the port. Among them are employees of the port administration and customs administration, workers who made repairs in the hangar, as well as those who were responsible for storing explosives in it. Port director Hasan Kritam is among the detainees. In addition, 18 people were interrogated who may have been involved in the disaster.