The ship Rhosus, the cargo from which could have exploded in Lebanese Beirut, sank in early 2018, writes The New York Times on August 7.
The newspaper’s reporters analyzed satellite imagery and ship tracking data. According to them, the ship left Batumi in November 2013 with about 2.7 thousand tons of ammonium nitrate on board and was heading to Mozambique.
The former captain of the ship Boris Prokoshev clarified in a conversation with the newspaper that he was ordered to make a stop in the Lebanese capital, after which the ship was detained for technical violations of operation. The photographs from the Beirut warehouse show the name of the cargo manufacturer – the Georgian company Rustavi Azot.
The NYT has published satellite footage that journalists say indicate that the ship was already out of cargo in 2015. And in February 2018, a ship abandoned in the northern part of the port began to leak and went under water in a few days.
It is noted that it sank about 457 meters from the warehouse where the saltpeter was stored. The Lebanese authorities never got rid of the wreckage because it did not obstruct the movement of other vehicles.
On August 5, it became known that the owner of the ship Rhosus detained in Beirut was Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin. After the ship was detained in Beirut, the merchant was forced to pay a forfeit, and then initiated bankruptcy proceedings. Who became the owner of the ship after Grechushkin is unknown.
The explosion in the Lebanese capital occurred on Tuesday, August 4, in the area of the seaport of Beirut near the Lebanese naval base. According to the official version of the authorities, about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate seized by customs six years ago were detonated.
As a result, the facades of several buildings located near the port collapsed, and houses and offices were damaged. The building of the Russian Embassy in Lebanon was also damaged, where the glass was broken.
According to the latest data, the explosion killed 154 people, more than 5 thousand were injured.