The ship, named the MV … Lebanese Security source: The massive blast in Beirut was caused by the explosion of tons of Ammonium nitrate after a fire nearby spread towards the warehouse where the Ammonium nitrate … The idea that such a quantity would have been left unattended for six years beggars belief and was an accident waiting to happen.". People gather by damaged buildings after the blast. At points, he even offered to sell the dangerous cargo to the Lebanese army, according to the court documents, but to no avail. "According to our information, the Russian crew was later repatriated to their homeland... the salaries were not paid," the union told CNN. CNN's Kareem Khadder, Schams Elwazer, Rob Picheta and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this story. In 2013, the MV Rhosus set off from Batumi, Georgia, destined for Mozambique, according to the vessel's path and the account of its captain Boris Prokoshev. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. A man reacts at the scene soon after the explosion. A cargo of 2,750 tonnes of the substance (equivalent to around 1.1 kilotons of TNT) had been stored in a warehouse without proper safety measures for the previous six years, after having been confiscated by the Lebanese authorities from the abandoned ship It is like an apocalypse.". "So, we never paid for it, we never received it.". A Russian rescue worker and dog search the Beirut port on Friday. But it's not like gunpowder that you just light a match and it will immediately go off like pyrotechnics. So, when that happened, we knew it was probably for us," the spokesperson said. The red-orange smoke plume was one of the first clues that ammonium nitrate was involved in the explosion in Beirut. Lebanese authorities have not named the MV Rhosus as the source of, Lebanon's general security chief also said a. This image was obtained from a video on social media. They would eventually abandon the ship. A building's facade is shattered after Tuesday's explosion. That's when the ship's owner told the Russian and Ukrainian sailors that he had run out of money and they would have to pick up additional cargo to cover the travel costs -- which led them on a detour to Beirut. A man sits inside a damaged home in Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday. Perhaps the closest comparison to Beirut's explosion, in terms of scale, is a blast in Texas City in 1947, which was caused by 2,300 US tons (about 2,087 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate. A Lebanese army helicopter flies over Beirut on Wednesday. Beirut explosion: How ammonium nitrate caused deadly blast in Lebanon An explosion at a warehouse in the Port of Beirut on Tuesday killed more than 100 people and left more than 4,000 … The resulting fire caused an explosion and additional fires that damaged more than 1,000 buildings and killed nearly 400 people, according to the website of the Texas Historical Association. Lebanon’s Prime Minister … Previous disasters linked to the chemical have led to improved regulations for its safe storage, Associate Professor Stewart Walker, from the school of Forensic, Environmental and Analytical Chemistry at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, told CNN said; such rules mean it tends to be kept away from population centers. Maritime traffic services and documents obtained by CNN describe a shipment of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that was detained in Beirut in 2013. A man whose legs were injured because of the explosion looks at a destroyed house on Friday. The Beirut neighborhood of Mar Mikhael sits in ruins. ", Kraytem too said that the issue of removing the explosive material had been brought up by State Security and Customs -- but that the issue had not been "resolved.". CNN made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Grechushkin on a Cyprus telephone number. ", The spokesperson said that colleagues at the company were very "surprised" to learn how long the chemical had been stored at the port as "that's not a material that you want to have stored without having any use for it." A wounded man is helped as he walks through debris following the explosion. A woman walks over rubble in her apartment on Wednesday. "We can confirm that yes, we did order it," a spokesperson for FEM told CNN. 2020 Beirut explosion: On August 4, a major fire broke out in a Port of Beirut warehouse and spread to 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate which had been impounded and stored for six years after it was … It's absolutely not common," the spokesperson said. This is a vessel, it's not like one thing that was lost in the mail, it's a big quantity.". Injured people sit on a street after the blast. For an industrial ammonium nitrate disaster to occur, a lot needs to go wrong. Documents newly reviewed by CNN reveal that a shipment of 2,750 metric tons of, Once it arrived, the ship never left Beirut's port, according Lebanon's Director of Customs, Badri Daher, despite repeated warnings by him and others that the cargo was the equivalent of "a floating bomb.". Beirut explosion linked to Russian ship storing ammonium nitrate left in port, called 'floating bomb' Officials warned the ship was 'a floating bomb.' Ammonium nitrate - identified as the cause of the deadly explosion in Beirut - is an odourless crystalline substance used as a fertilizer that has been behind many industrial explosions … What about the origins of the 2,750 tons of chemical in Beirut? Damage is seen inside an apartment on Wednesday. Books are seen in the blast debris on Friday. FEM had worked with an outside trading company to facilitate the transfer of the chemical compound from Georgia to Mozambique. Hundreds of people have been reported missing. A woman walks with her belongings on Wednesday. It was carrying 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, an industrial chemical commonly used around the world as a fertilizer -- and in explosives for mining. Fábrica de Explosivos Moçambique (FEM), a Mozambican explosives manufacturing company, told CNN that they were the ones who originally ordered the ammonium nitrate that was left at Beirut's port for nearly seven years. FEM told CNN this was the only shipment of the chemical ordered by the Mozambican firm that never arrived. In the Beirut incident, experts suggest fireworks were involved. The explosive force occurs when solid ammonium nitrate … A statue representing the Lebanese expatriate is seen Wednesday in front of a building that was damaged by the explosion. Relatives of people who are missing hold hands Thursday as they wait outside the port to receive information from rescue teams. Ammonium nitrate, a white chemical substance that often comes in the form of small crystal balls and is used as fertilizer as well as for bomb making, was inappropriately stored in a … Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh on Thursday distanced his ally Hizbullah from the ammonium nitrate shipment that exploded at Beirut port and instead pointed the finger at … Rescue workers search for missing people at the site of the explosion. While the company was aware that the vessel had been detained in Beirut and later impounded by Lebanese officials, the spokesperson insisted "that was absolutely out of our control. The catastrophic blast has resulted in widespread devastation to Lebanon's capital city and left at least 154 dead, according to the Lebanese Health Ministry. "Due to the extreme danger posed by this stored items in unsuitable climate conditions, we reiterate our request to the Port Authorities to re-export the goods immediately to maintain the safety of the port and those working in it," Daher's predecessor, Chafic Merhi, wrote in a 2016 letter addressed to a judge involved in the case. Lebanon PM Diab says 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate at site of Beirut blasts. The spokesperson said they had planned to pay "a significant amount" for the chemical in the first order but the payment was never made. It's a lot more stable.". "Poorly stored ammonium nitrate is notorious for explosions -- for example in Oppau, Germany; in Galveston Bay, Texas; and more recently at West in Waco, Texas; and Tianjin in China," Andrea Sella, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at University College London, told the Science Media Centre. "We were asked to fix a door of the warehouse by State Security and we did that at noon, but what occurred in the afternoon I have no idea," he said. The shipment never made it to Mozambique, the source said. A rescue worker walks along a pile of rubble at the explosion site in Beirut, Lebanon, on Saturday, August 8. Senegalese officials … Here's what you told us, Doctor who discovered Ebola warns of deadly viruses yet to come, British man becomes viral sensation after interview with CNN, Dancing doctors celebrate coronavirus vaccine arrival, Jupiter and Saturn appear closer than they have for 800 years, Video shows Navalny on the phone with Russian spy, Cancer survivor explains why vulnerable need vaccine sooner. But several months after the ammonium nitrate left Georgia, the spokesperson said the trading company told FEM it would not be arriving: "We were just informed by that trading company: there's a problem with the vessel, your order is not going to be delivered," the spokesperson said. A woman looks out of the collapsed facade of a Beirut apartment on Wednesday. Debris litters the floor of the Lebanese Parliament on Wednesday. Documents newly reviewed by CNN reveal that a shipment of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut on a Russian-owned vessel in 2013. A person hugs French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to the Gemmayzeh neighborhood in Beirut on Thursday. They added that FEM then purchased another order of ammonium nitrate to replace the lost one and that one was delivered. "In our memos 19320/2014 dated 5/12/2014 and 5/6/2015 [...] we requested that your honor order the responsible Port Authorities to re-export Ammonium Nitrate that was taken off the Rhosus ship and placed in Customs hangar number 12 in Beirut port," Daher wrote in 2017. Wounded people wait to received help outside a hospital. Smoke rises after the blast. Eventually we had to sell the fuel and use the money to hire a lawyer because there was not help, the owner did not even provide us with food or water," Prokoshev said in a radio interview with Echo Moscow on Wednesday. Firefighters work at the scene on Tuesday. An ammonium nitrate explosion produces massive amounts of nitrogen oxides. "This is a catastrophic regulatory failure because regulations on the storage of ammonium nitrate are typically very clear. Red smoke rises after the explosion, which could be felt for miles. Ammonium nitrate has been implicated in deadly industrial explosions in the past, and is known to require careful handling. Daher confirmed to CNN earlier on Wednesday that his office sent "a total of six letters to the legal authorities" but that the authorities never responded to any of their letters. (CNN)The original buyers of the ammonium nitrate that was left at Beirut's port have told CNN that it had been bought for use in mining. ", The source added, "it's a dangerous material, it's a very powerful oxidizer and is used for producing explosives. The spokesperson has been with the company since 2008 and said there had been no similar lost shipments of ammonium nitrate since then. People run for cover following the explosion. This aerial photo, taken Wednesday, shows the aftermath of the explosion. On Aug. 4, a devastating explosion struck the area around a port in Beirut. Once the ammonium nitrate reached Warehouse 12, it became snarled in the murky limbo of Beirut's notoriously corrupt port. Large crowds, chanting "revolution, revolution,". People walk near the scene of the explosion. This was just 2.7 thousand (tons).". A helicopter fights a fire Tuesday at the scene of the explosion. It was transported on the Russian ship, Rhosus, which docked in Beirut, where the chemical compound had been in storage for more than six years. The explosion was near the port in the Lebanese capital. In 2014, Mikhail Voytenko, who runs an online publication tracking maritime activity, described the ship as a "floating bomb.". Nigerian government: Military has rescued all kidnapped schoolboys, How Chinese government tries to silence overseas Uyghurs, Boko Haram claims responsibility for kidnapping, prompting fear of increasing influence, See inside Korean CCTV unit contact tracing citizens, See total solar eclipse in parts of South America. "People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones, and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity," Health Minister Hamad Hassan. The Russian-owned ship, named … The sailors had been on the ship for 11 months with few supplies, according to Prokoshev. She told Jordan's state-owned channel Al Mamlaka that the exchange is being considered in relation to the potential cause of the deadly Beirut blast. A woman, whose son is said to be missing after Tuesday's explosion, waits outside Beirut's port on Thursday to receive information from rescue teams. Lebanese soldiers watch as a helicopter fights a fire at the scene of the explosion. "It's absolutely massive and devastating to see all of that (the events in Beirut). Images from Beirut reveal a distinct reddish colour to the … "Both of these things will be questioned in the investigation into the Beirut explosion, because they had such a large amount of ammonium nitrate, which may not have been stored appropriately, and in an area where there is a large number of people," he added. ABUJA, Nigeria—The ammonium nitrate that exploded last week in Beirut… Ammonium nitrate stored at site of massive Beirut explosion: Officials More than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate was stored in the Beirut warehouse that was the scene of Tuesday's deadly … Senegalese officials say they have asked for 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate – the chemical which caused a huge explosion in Beirut – to be removed from Dakar. We knew that they were dangerous materials, but not to that extent. "What I felt was that it was an earthquake," Beirut resident Rania Masri told CNN. Once a reaction is sparked, ammonium nitrate explodes violently. Rescue crews search a street for survivors on Tuesday night. A woman and her sister-in-law show a photo of a missing man on Friday. "And unfortunately, we see our name attached, even though we have absolutely no part in it. But public court documents CNN obtained through the prominent Lebanese human rights activist, Wadih Al-Asmar, reveal that Daher and his predecessor, Merhi, turned to Beirut's courts to help dispose of the dangerous goods multiple times from 2014 onwards. People remove debris from a house on Friday. By Mary Ilyushina, Katie Polglase and Ali Younes, CNN. Lebanese soldiers search for survivors on Wednesday. CNN agreed not to publish the spokesperson's name due to the employee's privacy concerns amid a sensitive international story. If the ammonium nitrate in Beirut was stored in wooden or cardboard containers, it would have made the substance incredibly flammable, says Jimmie Oxley, a chemist at the University of … An injured man sits next to a restaurant in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood on Wednesday. Substance that reportedly sparked Beirut explosions was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing August 6, 2020 / 7:17 AM / AFP Ammonium nitrate, which Lebanese authorities have said … What has Denmark done right in its Covid-19 responses? Maintenance was conducted on the warehouse door just hours before the blast on Tuesday, he added. (CNN)As Lebanon's investigation into the devastating blast in Beirut continues, officials have pointed to a possible cause: A massive shipment of agricultural fertilizer that authorities say was stored in the port of Beirut without safety precautions for years -- despite warnings by local officials. "On Wednesday there was some news saying that the cargo was originally intended to go to Mozambique. Tragically, this seems to have been the case in Beirut, writes Gabriel da Silva. The ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut in the fall of 2013 on a Russian-owned cargo ship, the Rhosus, the ship's then-captain, … The explosion erupted in the Beirut’s port area late afternoon on Tuesday, with videos showing a fire burning in a building in the area before an enormous blast. The ammonium nitrate never made it to Mozambique, the source said, and instead was kept in a container at Beirut's port for over six years before exploding earlier this week. The … A man carries his belongings as he leaves his destroyed house on Thursday. ", Drone footage shows the scale of destruction in Beirut. A cloud of orange smoke is seen rising above Beirut, Aug. 4, 2020. 4 months ago. The Moldovan-flagged ship stopped in Greece to refuel. "That quantity -- it's far less than what we use in a month of consumption," the source said. Once in Beirut, the MV Rhosus was detained by local port authorities due to "gross violations in operating a vessel," unpaid fees to the port, and complaints filed by the Russian and Ukrainian crew , according to the Seafarers' Union of Russia (affiliated with the International Transport Workers' Federation, or ITF), which represented the Russian sailors, told CNN. According to emails exchanged by Prokoshev and a Beirut-based lawyer Charbel Dagher, who represented the crew in Lebanon, the ammonium nitrate was unloaded in Beirut's port by November 2014 and stored in a hangar. And it's with great sorrow that we see that," they added. It was then kept in that hangar for six years, despite repeated warnings from the Director of Lebanese Customs, Badri Daher, of the "extreme danger" that the cargo posed. The quantity -- 2750 metric tons, according to lawyers representing the ship's crew -- was also small compared with other commercial shipments of ammonium nitrate, the FEM spokesperson said. "Usually, when you place an order for whatever it is that you're buying, it's not common that you don't get the goods. "This is not common. Beirut was declared a "disaster city" by authorities on Wednesday. A damaged hospital room is seen on Wednesday. "At the time, on board of the dry cargo ship there were particularly dangerous goods -- ammonium nitrate, which the port authorities of Beirut did not allow to unload or transfer to another ship," it added. Firefighters use a water hose on flaming debris. On Wednesday, Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad Najd said there are papers and documents dating back to 2014 proving the existence of an exchange of information about the "material" confiscated by Lebanese authorities. Adding, "this is a very serious material and you need to transport it with very strict standards of transportation. An investigation into the explosion was announced by Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab. (AFP) "Customs and State Security sent letters [to the authorities] asking to remove or re-export the explosive materials six years ago, and we have been waiting since then for this issue to be resolved, but to no avail," Kraytem said. "The chemicals were originally going to Mozambique, not Lebanon. Adding, "there are some countries in the world with an annual consumption of over 1 million tons. "The Port Authority should not have allowed the ship to offload the chemicals into the port," he said. But Lebanon's Interior Minister said the blast was a store of about 2,750 tonnes of seized ammonium nitrate blowing up. This aerial photo, taken on Wednesday, shows ruined structures at the port. The spokesperson revealed that the Mozambican company only learnt of their involvement in the story from news reports on Wednesday that talked of a destination in Mozambique. The order of ammonium nitrate was intended for manufacturing explosives for mining companies in Mozambique, the spokesperson said. the substance that ultimately exploded in Beirut, France has sent an aid package to Lebanon, Live updates: Beirut explosion rocks Lebanon's capital city, Ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse linked to catastrophic Beirut explosion. Volunteers conduct research at the explosion site on Saturday. Bachar Ghattas, an eyewitness, described scenes of chaos: "You can see injured people all over the streets in Beirut, glass all over the place, cars are damaged. Ammonium nitrate, the material that appears to have caused the massive explosion that devastated Beirut on Tuesday, has been behind some of the largest accidental explosions and terrorist … Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is a red, bad-smelling gas . Emergency wards have been inundated. People walk Wednesday along a road littered with debris and abandoned vehicles. The devastating explosion in Beirut that killed at least 100 people and wounded thousands hit the Lebanese capital with the force of a 3.5-magnitude earthquake. The September 2013 shipment of ammonium nitrate began in Georgia, where the chemical compound was produced. Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored for years in a Beirut portside warehouse had blown up, killing dozens of people and … Lebanese soldiers stand guard in front of destroyed ships Thursday. This satellite image, obtained by CNN from Planet Labs Inc., shows a massive crater at the site of Tuesday's explosion. Christelle Helou hugs the coffin of her cousin Nicole in Sarba, Lebanon, on Thursday. On 4 August 2020, a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, exploded, causing at least 204 deaths, 6,500 injuries, and US$15 billion in property damage, and leaving an estimated 300,000 people homeless. A man leaves his damaged house on Thursday. A wounded person is carried after the blast. How 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate ended up in Beirut, Tensions high in Dover as stranded drivers seen shouting at police, We asked people around the world to reflect on 2020. Ammonium nitrate, which Lebanese authorities have said caused the devastating Beirut blast, is an odourless crystalline substance commonly used as a fertilizer that has been the cause of … This August 5, 2020 file photo, is the scene of an explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon. Following the destruction caused by ammonium nitrate exploding at Beirut's port, there are concerns globally about its storage. ", On Wednesday, the Director General of Beirut Port Hassan Kraytem told local television channel OTV: "We stored the material in warehouse number 12 at Beirut port in accordance with a court order. All the Lebanese political factions maintain a presence at the port … How judges responded to warnings about ammonium nitrate stored at the Beirut port, Doctored videos are already faking the cause of Beirut's explosion, Couple standing less than 600 meters from blast site survives Beirut explosion. The vessel was owned by a company called Teto Shipping which members of the crew said was owned by Igor Grechushkin, a Khabarovsk businessman who resided in Cyprus. The ammonium nitrate never made it to Mozambique, the source said, and instead was kept in a container at Beirut's port for over six years before exploding earlier this week. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Lebanese Red Cross officers carry an injured woman on Tuesday night. Asked in a telephone interview if there are any early findings in the investigations related to the cause of the explosion, she said, "There are no preliminary results or clarification.". , a devastating explosion struck the area around a port in Beirut ). `` NO₂... Privacy concerns amid a sensitive international story Beirut blasts for FEM told CNN have absolutely no in! Satellite image, obtained by CNN from Planet Labs Inc., shows structures. 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