First a ship owner ran out of money. Then Beirut ran out of time

World

First a ship owner ran out of money. Then Beirut ran out of time

Port authorities had reportedly asked for judicial assistance in selling and removing the dangerous cargo

John Mullin and Theo Merz

The timer started ticking six years ago, when 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate were taken from an impounded ship and stored in the port of Beirut.

It was a massive bomb just waiting to go off; a disaster equivalent to an earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale.

And all because Igor Grechushkin, the Russian owner of the Rhosus ship, carrying the deadly cargo from Georgia to Mozambique, declared bankruptcy on an unscheduled stop seven years ago. It left the port authorities of Beirut with a big problem. The cargo was transferred to a warehouse in 2014...

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