Reuters Mohamed Azaker
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that the amount of ammonium nitrate that exploded in the port of Beirut last year was not more than 20% of the total shipment that was unloaded in 2013.
The report, issued last October, and revealed this week, estimates that “only 552 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded that day, much less than the original 2,754 tons shipment, which arrived at the port in 2013.”
The report did not provide any explanation for this discrepancy between the quantity that exploded and the quantity that reached the port, nor did it clarify where the rest of the shipment went.
For his part, a Lebanese official familiar with the report of the US Bureau of Investigation confirmed that “the Lebanese authorities agreed with the office regarding the size of the substance that was ignited in the explosion.”
The Lebanese official denied reaching any definitive conclusions about the reason for the decrease in the quantity that exploded from the size of the original shipment, while “part of it may have been stolen, or only part of the shipment exploded while the remaining quantity flew into the sea.”
A shipment of ammonium nitrate was bound from Georgia to Mozambique on a cargo ship chartered from Russia.
The captain of the ship stated that “the order came to stop in Beirut and load an additional cargo, and this was not included in the flight schedule in the first place.”
The ship arrived in Beirut in November 2013, and was never destined to leave until the explosion, after falling into a long legal dispute over port fees and defects in the ship.
The horrific explosion was one of the most severe non-nuclear explosions known in history, killing more than 200 people, wounding thousands and causing massive destruction to Beirut.
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