Interpol asked to detain the captain and owner of a ship carrying thousands of ammonium nitrate to Beirut seven years ago.
The lead investigator of the August explosion in Beirut’s port, which killed nearly 200 and injured thousands, has issued arrest warrants for the captain and owner of a ship transporting thousands of ammonium nitrate to Beirut seven years ago, the state National News Agency ( NNA) said.
Nearly 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in the port of Beirut exploded on August 4, killing 193, injuring about 6,500 and leaving nearly 300,000 people homeless.
On Thursday, Judge Fadi Sawwan referred the case to the State Attorney, who asked Interpol to detain the two Russian citizens.
The NNA did not disclose the names of the two men, but Boris Prokoshev was the captain who sailed MV Rhosus from Turkey to Beirut in 201
Grechushkin was questioned by police at the request of Interpol’s Lebanon office in August.
More than two dozen people, most of them port and customs officials, have been detained since the explosion, which is considered to be one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever recorded.
Ammonium nitrate arrived in Lebanon in September 2013 aboard a Russian-owned cargo ship flying a Moldovan flag. Rhosus was on its way from Georgia to Mozambique, according to information from the ship tracking site Fleetmon.
The cargo was then unloaded and placed in Hangar 12 in Beirut port, a large gray structure facing the country’s main north-south highway at the main entrance to the capital.
The ammonium nitrate remained in storage until it exploded. Rhosus never left the port and sank there in February 2018 according to Lebanese official documents.
The blast further rattled over a nation struggling with its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
The economy is collapsing after decades of government waste, corruption and rising debt. Banks have frozen people out of their savings and the currency has gone down.
Meanwhile, Lebanon is also struggling to deal with the spread of the new coronavirus.
Schools have not yet opened following an increase in cases that have risen in the wake of the explosion to more than 35,000 infections including at least 340 deaths since 9 February.