Middle east

Lebanon appeals Interpol to detain 2 Russians about the ammonium nitrate

The state-run National News Agency reported that the head investigator about the August explosion at Beirut’s port that killed and injured several people issued two arrest warrants on Thursday for the captain and owner of a vessel that carried thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate to Beirut seven years ago.

In fact, almost 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrates stored at the port of Beirut exploded on Aug. 4, killing 193, injuring about 6,500 and causing damage worth billions of dollars. The news agency reported that judge, Fadi Sawwan, referred the case to the state prosecution, which requested Interpol to arrest the two Russian citizens.

Indeed, the NNA did not cite the names of the two men however Boris Prokoshev was the captain who sailed the MV Rhosus from Turkey to Beirut in 2013, while Igor Grechushkin, which is a Russian businessman residing in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, bought the cargo vessel in 2012 from Cypriot businessman Charalambos Manoli. The police have questioned Grechushkin on request of Interpol’s Lebanon office in August. More than two dozen people, most of them officials of port and customs, have been arrested since the explosion which is considered to be one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions ever recorded.

It should be noted that the Rhosus set out from the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi transporting 2,755.5 tons of ammonium nitrate destined for an explosives company in Mozambique. It made a programmed detour, and arresting in Beirut on November. 19, 2013.

The ammonium nitrate was transported in October 2014 into the port’s Warehouse 12, which contains seized materials. It remained at the warehouse until its explosion while the Rhosus never left the port and dropped there in February 2018, according to Lebanese official documents.

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