NYT reveals origin of ammonium nitrate that caused Beirut blast - report
The Beirut Port after Tuesday’s explosion that killed at least 157 and wounded more than 5,000
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Times said it was a rusty ship, "The Rhosus," that made an unscheduled stop at Beirut Port.
Days after a massive explosion turned large parts of a once bustling port city of Beirut into a fuming pile of rubble, a reporter for The New York Times managed to trace the origin of the cargo that exploded.
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 warehouse in the port.
But where did it come from? The Times said it was a rusty ship, the Rhosus, that made an unscheduled stop at Beirut Port.
The ship left for its final voyage from the port of Batumi, in Georgia, in September 2013 with the aim of reaching Mozambique in Africa. The ship never made it to Mozambique, however, as its captain had been requested to make an additional stop at Beirut in order to load additional cargo that was meant to be taken to Jordan.
When the unexpected ship made its appearance at the port, it was seized by the local authorities due to unspecified deficiencies. The crew was ordered not to leave the vessel. Eventually, in August 2014, the crew was released but the ship was left docked at the harbor. The deadly cargo was moved to a nearby warehouse where it was stored until it exploded last week.According to the Times, with its crew dispersed, the ship was left to gather seaweed until it was towed to a different location in the port and its rusty, old carcass sank to the bottom of the pier in 2018.