Russian media reported on Wednesday that the massive explosion in Beirut that has killed at least 100 people and injured thousands was caused by fertiliser seized from a Russian-owned cargo ship.
The ship, the Rhosus, came to the port of Beirut six years ago due to a malfunction while en route to Africa, with a cargo of about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, the Lebanese news outlet LBCI reported, without disclosing the vessel’s ownership.
The Russian news outlet RBC reported that the vessel, en route from the Georgian city of Batumi to Mozambique, was owned by a Russian national, Igor Grechushkin, born in Russia’s far-eastern Khabarovsk region and residing in Cyprus.
Following the malfunction, Grechushkin effectively abandoned the vessel in Beirut, failing to adequately pay the crew, RBC reported, citing crew members who had worked on the ship.
The hazardous cargo was reportedly offloaded to a warehouse, where it remained for years.
A fire erupted during welding work at the facility on Tuesday, leading to the explosion, LBCI reported. (dpa/NAN)