An explosion in Beirut caused panic all over the world. As several people caught the incident on camera. The pictures and videos certainly helped disseminate information on the accident. So, people were privy to all that happened as it unfolded. According to the Red Cross, at least 135 people had died at the time. And about 4000 injured victims recorded. Authorities are still in the process of investigating the blast. Meanwhile, a large part of the city is in rubble.
Occurrence of the explosion
There were two successive explosions at the port of Beirut. The first ignited a fire and caught people’s attention. A few minutes later, a second blast shook the city. This incident however occurred around 6 pm on Tuesday. As a result, a cloud of red smoke filled the air. And it is clearly visible from almost anywhere in the city. The impact of the blast spread miles away from the Mediterranean. However, the impact was stronger along the Beirut port neighbourhood. As clubs, restaurants and apartments are now in jeopardy. Consequently, buildings are practically no more.
Sadly, several foreign diplomatic missions are also a part of this. For example, the likes of the German and Norwegian embassies were collaterals too. Another part affected by the blast is the Beirut airport. On the other hand, the blast has a great effect on the capacity of the hospitals. This is because of the number of injured patients. With all information reported by the Lebanese Red Cross. Meanwhile, there are concerns over potential toxins release in the air.
Cause of the Explosion in Beirut
So far, there is no precise cause of the blast. It is all still speculations for now. The Lebanese interior minister however gave his opinion on a possible cause. Mr Mohammed Fahmi said a stockpile of ammonium nitrate probably caused the explosion. The Prime Minister also aired his view on the situation. Mr Hassan Diab said several thousand tons of the chemical were stored improperly. And more so because it was stored for six years. Although, Mr Diab’s proxy gave the report.
Igor Grechuskin’s shipAlthough an investigation is still ongoing. Arms experts reported a correlation between the explosion and the official explanation. According to the Washington Post, a cargo ship was carrying the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. The ship was on its way to Mozambique from Georgia. As it made an unscheduled stop at Beirut. Also, it had a Moldovian flag on the ship. And the report dates 2013.
Port Authorities put the cargo into port warehouses. This was because of the nature of the material on board. As the cargo awaited proper disposal, they were left forlorn. Meanwhile, several officials made attempts to do something about it. All efforts proved futile.
Cause of the Explosion: Ship carrying the Ammonium Nitrate
- Boris Prokoshev was the captain of the MV Rhosus. That is the ship that contained the ammonium nitrate. He spoke to a Russian radio station in an interview. Firstly he identified the owner of the ship. His name is Igor Grechuskin. And he is a Russian businessman.
- In 2013, the ship carrying the explosive material sailed into Beirut. A year after that, the cargo was impounded. It was stored there for 6 years, till it exploded on Tuesday.
- According to Prokoshev, Mr Igor abandoned the ship. As this happened after it got stuck in Beirut. Thereafter leaving the crew stranded.
- The captain also said Mr Igor currently lives in Cyprus. However, Cyprus authorities claimed not to receive any request of help from Lebanon. Also, Grechuskin has made no comment concerning the incident. As he has proved unreachable so far.
- Furthermore, reports say the ship travelled towards Mozambique from Georgia. After they set sail, the realised the journey did not seem profitable enough. As a result, they detoured to Beirut port in 2013.
- While in Beirut, Inspectors held the ship. Some of the crew members left but not Prokoshev. He and a few others stayed there for 11 months. Meanwhile, Grechuskin did nothing the whole time.
- In short, Mr Igor abandoned the explosive cargo. He forsook the crew and has said nothing till date. The ammonium nitrate was however stored till it exploded. Hence, the explosion in Beirut.