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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Beirut explosion linked to Russian ship storing ammonium nitrate left in port, called ‘floating bomb’

Officials warned the ship was ‘a floating bomb.’

Investigators probing the devastating blast in Beirut that killed at least 135 people and injured 5,000 more are pointing to a Russian ship docked in the city’s port for nearly seven years without appropriate security precautions that officials warned was “a floating bomb.”

The Russian vessel, named MV Rhosus, carrying agricultural fertilizer with 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate and en route to Mozambique hit a financial snag and docked in the Beruit port in 2013, according to legal documents and Lebanese officials, the Washington Post reported.

Lebanon’s director of customs, Badri Daher, repeatedly sent letters to the judiciary over the years and warned that the cargo was the equivalent of “a floating bomb,” but the warnings went unheeded.

Daher repeatedly asked officials to remove the ammonium nitrate from the port because it posed a significant danger of exploding, he said during an interview with LBC TV late Wednesday.

 

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