Source: Al-Mayadeen, Lebanese TV channel pro-Hezbollah, August 5th, 2020
Anyone who sees these photos will find it hard to believe that they show the Beirut port just 24 hours ago, full of life, before being (completely) destroyed by (the explosion) of (hundreds of) tons of ammonium nitrate, stored in an anarchic manner in warehouse n° 12 for several years.
Beirut was faced with a terrible scene, the explosion causing tens of deaths and thousands of injuries, not to mention the destruction and damage to thousands of homes, institutions and businesses.
What is the history of this (nitrate) cargo? And how did it get to the port?
This cargo has been in the port since 2013, by decision of the Lebanese justice, under the mandate of the former head of government, Najib Miqati, the Minister of Transport Ghazi al-Aridi and the Director General of Customs at the time, Chafiq Mir’i.
A Moldovan ship coming from Georgia and heading for Mozambique was then immobilized when it entered the port of Beirut, carrying tonnes of ammonium nitrate which, after inspection, were prohibited from returning to sea. In addition, the cargo was seized. Then, the Beirut urgent applications judge, Nadim Zweyn, decided to bring the ship into the port and empty its cargo after it was seized by the Baroudi & Associés law firm.
Subsequently, the justice did not respond to requests from the Customs Department to consider moving the cargo. In 2017, the Customs Department sent a written request to the Beirut urgent applications Judge, requiring authorization to re-export the ammonium nitrate or sell it to an explosives factory.
Even more serious, the General Directorate of Security of the Lebanese State sent an urgent report to the former head of government Saad Hariri and his Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan, warning of the dangers these stocks represented, but no one took these warnings seriously.
“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…”