Lebanese and international investigators have yet to identify the owner of the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate which sat languishing in Beirut’s port for seven years before it detonated amid an accidental warehouse fire on Aug.4, killing over 200 people and injuring more than 6,000.
It was estimated to be worth $700,000 by 2013 prices, but no one ever came forward to claim it. It’s still a mystery even after Cypriot authorities at the request of Interpol late last week finally interviewed the man who originally abandoned Rhosus, a Russian businessman named Igor Grechushkin, during the ship’s ill-fated intended trip to deliver the substance to an explosives maker in Mozambique.
Reuters along with others have been investigating the ship, which sank while moored of Beirut in 2018, and the mystery of just who owned its volatile cargo: “Among the still-unanswered questions: who paid for the ammonium nitrate and did they ever seek to reclaim the cargo when the Rhosus was impounded? And if not, why not?”
In a brief televised speech on Monday, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he was taking “a step back” so that he can stand with the Lebanese people “and fight the battle for change alongside them.”
“I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon,” Diab announced.
“Today we are heeding the people and their demands to hold accountable those responsible for a disaster.”
Diab blamed his predecessors for last week’s deadly blast in the capital Beirut. “They (political class) should have been ashamed of themselves because their corruption is what has led to this disaster that had been hidden for seven years,” he added.
“Their corruption created this tragedy,” said Diab. “Between us and change stands a thick wall protected by their dirty tactics,” he added.
‘We Are at War With Our Govt’: Protesters Clash With Police, Army in Beirut
Dozens of videos out of the Port of Beirut in Lebanon flooded social media Tuesday showing a massive explosion engulf a large part of the city.
Footage from numerous vantage points throughout Beirut show a billowing column of smoke rising out of a warehouse near Port 12 from a smaller explosion when a sudden more powerful explosion vaporizes several buildings accompanied by a forceful shock wave.
Witnesses from as far as the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 143 miles off the coast of Beirut, also saw and felt the explosion, ABC reported.