The huge stockpile of the fertilizers that blasted this week in Beirut and killed at least 135 people while injuring around 5,000 others was known as a risk for seven years. It was also described as a 'floating bomb' by the crew of the Russian cargo ship, which was responsible for bringing it to the port city in the first place, as per reports.
The 2,750 metric tons of the ammonium nitrate, which is the explosive material that is used for terror attacks, arrived unexpectedly in Beirut in 2013 on a cargo ship, which was supposed to be going to Mozambique.
'Floating Bomb' From Russia
The MV Rhosus, which was owned by Russian Igor Grechushkin, made an unscheduled halt and got abandoned as the businessman went bankrupt, as reported by the New York Post. The owner currently stays in Cyprus with his family. They did not make any comments about the blast.
The crew had immediately warned telling marine expert Mikhail Voitenko that the cargo amounted to a floating bomb. It is not clear why Greschuskin was carrying such amount of ammonium nitrate and also why the ship stopped in Beirut blaming mechanical problems, according to reports.
Lebanon Was Warned About Danger
"The owner actually abandoned the vessel and crew. Salary is not paid, supplies are not purchased. The cargo owner refused the cargo," the maritime expert Voitenko wrote in 2014. The Lebanese officials had seized the material in that year and were keeping it inside a warehouse at the port that exploded on Tuesday. Many warnings were raised regarding what was stored for the last few years. But it was not taken seriously thus resulting in the shocking incident.
The incident happed as a fire began at the warehouse nine and spread to the warehouse 12 where the ammonium nitrate was stored, which might have resulted in the blast. The President of Lebanon, Michel Aoun stated that the failure to deal with the stockpile of the ammonium nitrate was 'unacceptable' and mentioned that those responsible are going to face the harshest punishment.