2020 Beirut explosions

Article

August 14, 2022

On the evening of August 4, 2020, at 18:08 local time, an extremely powerful explosion occurred in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. As a result of the explosion in the port of Beirut, which was preceded by a fierce fire, 200 people died, 80 went missing, and 6,000 people were injured. According to Marwan Abboud, the governor of Beirut, the homes of around 300,000 people were destroyed by the series of explosions. The Lebanese government declared a two-week state of emergency, and Beirut was declared a disaster-hit city. At least 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded during the detonation, the explosive power of which is equal to the power of 1.1 kilotons of TNT. The explosion was caused by ammonium nitrate (which is basically used as a fertilizer raw material) seized from the abandoned ship MV Rhosus and left in a storage building without adequate security supervision for six years. Even though the tremors did not necessarily hit the ground, the United States Geological Survey still measured the earthquake caused by the detonation as a magnitude of 3.3. The fire in the port was extinguished the following morning, August 5. The situation in Lebanon has been tense since 2019, and the population has already demanded the resignation of the government in numerous demonstrations by the summer of 2020. The accident at the port further fueled tempers and sparked riots in Beirut as people blamed corruption and state leaders for the negligence that led to the tragedy. The government eventually resigned due to the riots and the inevitable economic collapse. The disaster prompted several countries to inspect the places on their territory where ammonium nitrate is also stored and to detect possible irregularities. India, Yemen, Iraq, Australia, the United Kingdom and Romania also acted as a result of the disaster in Beirut. Based on the available documents, it is clear that the catastrophe was caused by political recklessness, negligence, corruption and the complete lack of appropriate official and expert controls. led by the religious division of Lebanon. If there is any other reason for the explosion in addition to these, it will be very difficult to find out because of the already mentioned division.

Ammonium nitrate in port

Subsequent investigations revealed that the ammonium nitrate that caused the explosion had been stored illegally in the port since November 2013. The shipment was brought from Batumi by the Russian-owned cargo ship Rhosus. The ammonium nitrate was destined for an explosives manufacturing company in Mozambique. According to the signs, the company carrying out the transport was struggling with debts, so it wanted to take heavy machinery on board in Lebanon in the hope of additional income, which in turn made the cargo overweight, in order to reduce this, the ammonium nitrate was delivered and placed in the port warehouses. The unprofessional and negligent storage conditions are clearly shown by the fact that the ammonium nitrates were simply thrown into the building and it was not possible to check whether all the bags were complete. In addition, pyrotechnic devices (fireworks rockets) were placed next to the bags in the warehouse. The Russian company did not pay the port fee, which led the Lebanese authorities to seize the Rhosus. The ship languished in the docks for five years and ran aground in 2018. In addition to him, Rhosus also had a Greek Cypriot owner, Haralampos Manoli, whose identity was only revealed more than two weeks after the disaster. Manoli also has business connections with the Lebanese Hezbollah, so it is assumed that the ship did not dock in Beirut by chance, although Manoli claims that the ship was already out of the