The port of Beirut irregularly stored 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for six years, a chemical compound that is used to make everything from explosives to fertilizers and whose combustion produced Tuesday’s explosion.
Everything indicates that the substance arrived there in a Moldovan flag ship, the Rhosus , which was abandoned loaded with the dangerous material after suffering technical problems in 2013. How this shipment was stored during all this time, without the minimum security measures , is at the center of an investigation still full of unknowns.
Cypriot authorities located and questioned on Thursday, at the request of the Interpol office in Beirut, a Russian man linked to Rhosus , Reuters reports. A source consulted by the agency reported that it is a 43-year-old businessman named Igor Grechushkin.
Little else is known. The captain of the ship in 2013, Boris Prokoshev, explained this Thursday that the chemical ended up in Beirut after the owner of the ship who he also identifies as Grechushkin told him that he had to make an unscheduled stop in the Lebanese capital. to pick up a load.
A report published in 2015 by the Shiparrested network of lawyers gave data that are now significant. “On 9/23/2013, m / v Rhosus , with the flag of Moldova, set sail from Batumi Port, Georgia to Beira in Mozambique with 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in bulk.
En route, the ship faced technical problems that forced the captain to enter the port of Beirut ”, reads the first paragraph of the Rhosus report , arrest and release of the crewsigned by two lawyers.