The Explosion in Beirut and the Alleged Involvement of a Moldovan-Flagged Ship
The Rhosus Moldovan-flagged ship allegedly transported the 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that exploded in the port area of Beirut, Lebanon. In 2013, the ship, with the same cargo, was seized in the Lebanese port after it had been berthed due to technical problems, according to TASS news agency.
Igor Zaharia, director of the Naval Agency of Moldova, stated for ZdG that the ship is not currently under the flag of Moldova.
The Lebanese Prime Minister said before the Supreme Defense Council that it is unacceptable that a shipment of an estimated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was stored in a warehouse for six years without preventive measures.
Sources in the Lebanese capital told TASS correspondent Dmitri Zelenin of Beirut that the explosive device was seized from a Moldovan-flagged ship with a Ukrainian crew in 2013. The ship had left Georgia for Mozambique, where it was to unload the cargo.
LBC International writes that the explosion took place during welding work to seal the holes through which the intruders could commit thefts.
Since it was seized, the ship has been abandoned in the Lebanese port. At the request of the creditors, the courts have issued three decisions since the seizure of the ship.
The Russian media and the Fleetmon portal wrote that the owner of the ship is the Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin.
According to Marrinetraffic.com, the ship was built in 1986 (34 years ago) and was sailing under the flag of Moldova. The ship’s carrying capacity is 3,226 tonnes DWT, its total length (LOA) is 86.6 meters, and its width is 12.02 meters.
Igor Zaharia, the director of the Naval Agency of Moldova, stated for ZdG that the ship is not currently under the flag of Moldova.
“The press does not always tell the truth. It is not fully informed and offers the information available at the moment. We will return with more information. The ship is currently not under the flag of Moldova. It was several years ago,” mentioned the director of the Naval Agency of Moldova.
When asked about the information in the international press, claiming that the ship would be under Moldova’s flag, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova recommended consulting the Naval Agency that manages the respective register.
At the same time, on the evening of August 4, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Țulea, sent a message of compassion to his Lebanese counterpart, Charbel Wehbe.
“On behalf of Moldova, we send our condolences to the grieving families and wish to those injured in the Beirut explosion a speedy recovery,” Țulea mentioned.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentioned that the Embassy of Moldova in Ankara, concurrently accredited in Lebanon, is in contact with the authorities in Beirut to specify whether there are Moldovan citizens among the victims.
According to the preliminary information, there are no Moldovan citizens affected by the explosion. If necessary, the citizens of Moldova from Lebanon can contact the Moldovan diplomatic mission at the email address: email@example.com or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Call Center.
A massive explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut on August 4, left at least 135 people dead and about 5,000 injured. Lebanon declared three days of national mourning from August 5.