This image was obtained from a video on social media. "So, we never paid for it, we never received it.". The Beirut neighborhood of Mar Mikhael sits in ruins. "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. CNN agreed not to publish the spokesperson's name due to the employee's privacy concerns amid a sensitive international story. 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. 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 … ", The source added, "it's a dangerous material, it's a very powerful oxidizer and is used for producing explosives. 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 CNN's Kareem Khadder, Schams Elwazer, Rob Picheta and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this story. A woman looks out of the collapsed facade of a Beirut apartment on Wednesday. Lebanese soldiers stand guard in front of destroyed ships Thursday. The idea that such a quantity would have been left unattended for six years beggars belief and was an accident waiting to happen.". In 2014, Mikhail Voytenko, who runs an online publication tracking maritime activity, described the ship as a "floating bomb.". People run for cover following the explosion. A helicopter fights a fire Tuesday at the scene of the explosion. ", 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. Ammonium nitrate has been implicated in deadly industrial explosions in the past, and is known to require careful handling. 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 … And it's with great sorrow that we see that," they added. "And unfortunately, we see our name attached, even though we have absolutely no part in it. 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. 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. "The chemicals were originally going to Mozambique, not Lebanon. Rescue workers search for missing people at the site of the explosion. A wounded person is carried after the blast. People walk Wednesday along a road littered with debris and abandoned vehicles. ", Drone footage shows the scale of destruction in Beirut. They would eventually abandon the ship. Books are seen in the blast debris on Friday. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. The spokesperson said they had planned to pay "a significant amount" for the chemical in the first order but the payment was never made. Once the ammonium nitrate reached Warehouse 12, it became snarled in the murky limbo of Beirut's notoriously corrupt port. Volunteers conduct research at the explosion site on Saturday. 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. This is a vessel, it's not like one thing that was lost in the mail, it's a big quantity.". Firefighters work at the scene on Tuesday. Images from Beirut reveal a distinct reddish colour to the … 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. Lebanon’s Prime Minister … The September 2013 shipment of ammonium nitrate began in Georgia, where the chemical compound was produced. So, when that happened, we knew it was probably for us," the spokesperson said. 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. Firefighters use a water hose on flaming debris. Following the destruction caused by ammonium nitrate exploding at Beirut's port, there are concerns globally about its storage. A man leaves his damaged house on Thursday. Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is a red, bad-smelling gas . 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. FEM had worked with an outside trading company to facilitate the transfer of the chemical compound from Georgia to Mozambique. 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.". 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. By Mary Ilyushina, Katie Polglase and Ali Younes, CNN. ", 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." 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. In the Beirut incident, experts suggest fireworks were involved. 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. A man sits inside a damaged home in Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday. "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. 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. This was just 2.7 thousand (tons).". 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. 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. 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. But it's not like gunpowder that you just light a match and it will immediately go off like pyrotechnics. 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. Adding, "there are some countries in the world with an annual consumption of over 1 million tons. A person hugs French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to the Gemmayzeh neighborhood in Beirut on Thursday. 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. 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 I felt was that it was an earthquake," Beirut resident Rania Masri told CNN. A man reacts at the scene soon after the explosion. 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. 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. 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 … 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 … "We can confirm that yes, we did order it," a spokesperson for FEM told CNN. 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. 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. "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. 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. 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. Damage is seen inside an apartment on Wednesday. "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. A building's facade is shattered after Tuesday's explosion. A cloud of orange smoke is seen rising above Beirut, Aug. 4, 2020. "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. Tragically, this seems to have been the case in Beirut, writes Gabriel da Silva. Once a reaction is sparked, ammonium nitrate explodes violently. On Aug. 4, a devastating explosion struck the area around a port in Beirut. 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. 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 … It is like an apocalypse.". 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 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. 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.". CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. A woman and her sister-in-law show a photo of a missing man on Friday. Lebanese soldiers watch as a helicopter fights a fire at the scene of the explosion. What has Denmark done right in its Covid-19 responses? 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 … A man whose legs were injured because of the explosion looks at a destroyed house on Friday. The sailors had been on the ship for 11 months with few supplies, according to Prokoshev. The ship, named the MV … Injured people sit on a street after the blast. Lebanese soldiers search for survivors on Wednesday. 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. "According to our information, the Russian crew was later repatriated to their homeland... the salaries were not paid," the union told CNN. Large crowds, chanting "revolution, revolution,". Smoke rises after the blast. 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. A man carries his belongings as he leaves his destroyed house on Thursday. A rescue worker walks along a pile of rubble at the explosion site in Beirut, Lebanon, on Saturday, August 8. A damaged hospital room is seen on Wednesday. "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. All the Lebanese political factions maintain a presence at the port … This aerial photo, taken Wednesday, shows the aftermath of the explosion. Debris litters the floor of the Lebanese Parliament on Wednesday. "On Wednesday there was some news saying that the cargo was originally intended to go to Mozambique. A woman walks with her belongings on Wednesday. 4 months ago. Hundreds of people have been reported missing. What about the origins of the 2,750 tons of chemical in Beirut? 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. "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. They added that FEM then purchased another order of ammonium nitrate to replace the lost one and that one was delivered. "That quantity -- it's far less than what we use in a month of consumption," the source said. 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 … A Russian rescue worker and dog search the Beirut port on Friday. ", 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.". Senegalese officials … 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. "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. 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 … FEM told CNN this was the only shipment of the chemical ordered by the Mozambican firm that never arrived. It's absolutely not common," the spokesperson said. For an industrial ammonium nitrate disaster to occur, a lot needs to go wrong. The explosion was near the port in the Lebanese capital. Emergency wards have been inundated. 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. People remove debris from a house on Friday. "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. Lebanese authorities have not named the MV Rhosus as the source of, Lebanon's general security chief also said a. We knew that they were dangerous materials, but not to that extent. The ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut in the fall of 2013 on a Russian-owned cargo ship, the Rhosus, the ship's then-captain, … An injured man sits next to a restaurant in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood on Wednesday. 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. 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