Beirut nitrate 'abandoned by Russian businessman'
BEIRUT - The New York Times has claimed that the ship carrying the dangerous ammonium nitrate was abandoned in Beirut in September 2013 by Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin after the port declared it unseaworthy and remained there for nearly seven years.
The vessel was reportedly detained on its way from Georgia to Mozambique and never recovered. The large sacks in the warehouse were labelled ‘nitroprill’, similar to ammonium nitrate’s trade name ‘nitropril’, which has one ‘L’ and is produced by Orica, Bellingcat reports. The difference in spelling could mean the sacks contained a knock off version of the dangerous chemical. Bellingcat claims the style of the windows in the warehouse roof appear to match other warehouses in the Beirut port.
It is believed some 2,700 tons of the highly explosive chemical were being stored in Warehouse 12 in the city’s port and were ignited by a fire at the nearby Warehouse 9. The devastating blast levelled the industrial waterfront and sent shockwaves racing through densely populated neighbourhoods killing at least 135 people and injuring thousands. (FA)