The Lebanese authorities did not release the crew from the ship for a year, then seized the cargo and stored it in the same warehouse with the fireworks. According to the main version, they caught fire and caused an explosion.
On August 4, strong explosions occurred in the port of Beirut href=”https://apnews.com/4475998de078a93bbe91b7ac9d43ada2″ target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>more than 100 people have already died , and about 4 thousand have been injured. The main version of the cause of the explosion is associated with 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, which had been stored in the port warehouse for six years. It was confiscated from the detained ship Rhosus, which belonged to a Russian businessman.
For a year, Lebanese border guards kept part of the crew on the ship due to the owner’s bankruptcy. When they were released, the saltpeter was sent to a warehouse, where it lay awaiting disposal for six years. It turned out that there were fireworks in the same room with the hazardous substance, which exploded during welding and detonated the explosion of saltpeter.
According to the rules for storing nitrate in the same room, there should be no explosive materials with it, but there were fireworks in the warehouse
Since 2014 in the port of Beirut is 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate, awaiting auction or disposal, told a Lebanese television channel LBCI with reference to the Supreme Council of Defense of Lebanon. This was confirmed by the Prime Minister of the country, Hassan Diab, promising to punish those responsible for such negligence.
I will not rest until we find the person responsible for what happened, in order to bring him to justice and impose the most severe punishments on him, because it is unacceptable that a batch of ammonium nitrate, estimated at 2,750 tons, was in a warehouse for six years without taking preventive measures.
Prime Minister of Lebanon
Lebanese President Naim Aoun also spoke about the need to punish the perpetrators, especially considering that flammable and explosive materials were in the same room with ammonium nitrate. And this was recorded in the security reports.
Ammonium nitrate is used as nitrogen fertilizer and explosives. It can only be stored in fire-safe rooms, where there are no combustible materials and the threat of fire, where there are no pipes in which explosive substances can accumulate. After the explosion of ammonium nitrate, toxic nitrogen oxide and ammonia can be released.
According to the director of the port, the cargo was temporarily stored at berth number 12 by a court decision, as it is isolated and “no one enters it”. During a recent technical inspection of the premises, the inspection found an entrance through which you can easily get to the warehouse. The workers were instructed to weld one of the doors, and guard the other.
A security account said that during the welding, sparks hit fireworks in the same room and then detonated 2,750 tons of saltpeter, the equivalent of 1,800 tons of TNT, LBCI reported . According to the TV channel, the port is practically destroyed, including the main grain bunker in Lebanon. According to the Minister of Economy and Trade of the country Raul Nehme, there will be enough wheat in the country “for less than a month”.Port of Beirut after the explosion. Grain storage in the background
The counterfeit saltpeter was supposed to be disposed of immediately, but it lay for six years. And the owner forgot about the ship’s crew
On September 23, 2013, the Moldovan-flagged vessel Rhosus sailed from the Georgian port of Batumi, heading for Beieru in Mozambique, according to Shiparrested.com. There were 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate on board for sale. On the way, due to technical problems, the ship entered the port of Beirut, and after inspecting the ship by the Lebanese Port State Control, it was forbidden to go to sea.
The ship Rhosus was owned by Teto Shipping Ltd., which belonged to Igor Grechushkin, a Khabarovsk resident. The company is registered in Cyprus – its owner also lived there.
There were 10 people on board Rhosus – nine Ukrainian citizens and one Russian. After the detention of the ship, the Lebanese authorities agreed to release the crew if another was sent to replace him, however, according to the captain of the crew Boris Prokoshev, Grechushkin refused to pay for the maintenance of the ship’s crew.
The Lebanese border guards released six crew members to their homeland after appealing to the Ukrainian consul, and four remained to support the vessel’s life. The captain of the ship said that Grechushkin “actually abandoned the ship and the remaining crew,” stating that he had gone bankrupt.
The crew members did not receive money for maintenance and were left completely without provisions and communications, since the owner of the vessel did not pay for the Internet, telephone and satellite communications (inmarsat). Prokoshev said that the Lebanese emigration authorities took the documents from the crew.
According to Prokoshev, the remaining crew was not released due to the fact that in this case the port authorities would have to hire new employees to service the vessel, but “naturally, they do not want to bear the costs.” For the same reason, the contract was not signed with the Ukrainian team.
The maintenance of the arrested ship should be the concern of the port authorities, since they have arrested the ship, and it should not be solved at the expense of people who have already terminated their employment under the terms of the contract. In fact, it turns out that a terrorist pirate act is being committed against us.
former captain of the ship Rhosus
On the forums, sailors, and before the arrest of Rhosus, repeatedly complained about its owner: “Whoever worked there should be awarded the title of hero. He constantly detains money, does not invest anything in the ship. Only what the port control has noticed is done. The car is generally full of alles. The casing is burnt out and everything is red as in a furnace. Cut down on food money. He constantly moanes that sailors eat a lot. Such a ship owner has no conscience, no shame. “
One of the former crew members said that the “killed” ship had regular breakdowns: “The fuel system of the main engine is not suitable for [the brand of fuel oil] IFO, but [we] were forced to use fuel oil [until] until the starmech flatly refused it to do when a wheel is scattered like on a separator. “
Another sailor believes that “only a madman” can work on the ship: “The ship is in a terrible state. There are no living conditions at all. They fed me whatever they could, gave one piece of bread per brother. The salary was paid only when the contract ended, and so they sat without money all the time.
At the end of 2013, the relatives of the crew turned to the Assol Foundation, which helped the crew members financially, and also sent appeals to the authorities of Lebanon, Ukraine, Moldova and the Red Cross organization. A year after the arrest of the ship on September 18, 2014, the remaining sailors were released home.