Interpol Red Notice for Owner, Captain of Ship that Transported Ammonium Nitrate to Lebanon
The Interpol reportedly issued “red notice” for the owner of the Rhosus ship that brought ammonium nitrate to Lebanon leading to the port explosion, and for the Portuguese nitrate trader who examined the material in hangar number 12 in 2014, LBCI television reported on Tuesday.
LBCI said the notice was issued at the request of Public Prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Khoury.
The material triggered the massive Beirut port explosion on August 4, 2020, that devastated large swathes of the capital, killed over 200 people, wounded thousands and left 300,000 people homeless.
Seven years ago, Rhosus ship set out from the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi carrying 2,755.5 tons of ammonium nitrate destined for an explosives company in Mozambique.
It made an unscheduled detour, stopping in Beirut on Nov. 19, 2013. The ship's Russian owner struggled with debts and hoped to earn extra cash by taking on pieces of heavy machinery in Lebanon. That additional cargo proved too heavy for the Rhosus and the crew refused to take it on.
The Rhosus was soon impounded by Lebanese authorities for failing to pay port fees. It never left the port; it sank there in February 2018, according to Lebanese official documents.
The Port of Beirut is considered one of the most corrupt institutions in a country where nearly every public institution is riddled with corruption. For years, Lebanon's ruling political factions have divvied up positions at the port and handed them out to supporters -- as they have ministries, public companies and other facilities nationwide.