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A Russian ship’s cargo of dangerous ammonium nitrate was stranded in Beirut port for years

Lebanon is still investigating a deadly blast that occurred on Tuesday evening in its capital city of Beirut, however, officials have declared that a massive shipment of agricultural fertilizer was stored in the port without safety precautions for a number of years. The 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut on a Russian vessel called the MV Rhosus in 2013. Although the vessel was headed for Mozambique, it experienced financial difficulties that caused it to remain in Beirut’s port. According to Lebanon’s Director of Customs, he warned the group repeatedly that the cargo was a “floating bomb.”

The explosion killed at least 135 civilians and injured 5,000 more. The MV Rhosus has not been named as the official cause of the explosion, however, Prime Minister Hassan Diab stated that the blast was caused by improperly stored ammonium nitrate that had been sitting in the cargo holder at the port warehouse for six years. Lebanon’s general security chief also stated that explosive material had been seized years earlier and stored in the warehouse.

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