Interpol issues wanted notice over explosion at port of Beirut

It requests the arrest of the owners and the captain of the Russian ship that brought the ammonium nitrate to Lebanon in the first place, as well as the arrest of a Portuguese nitrate trader. More than 200 people were killed in the explosion that devastated the port last August

The destruction at the port of Beirut in August 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A wanted notice has been issued by Interpol for two Russian citizens and one Portuguese citizen over their involvement in the shipment of explosive materials to Lebanon and their storage at the port of Beirut for six years until the blast that devastated the port in August, according to a report by the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. 

The wanted notice is a non-binding request to law enforcement officials across the world to locate and arrest the suspects temporarily, but it is not an arrest warrant. According to the report, they are the owner and the captain of the Rhosus, the ship that transported close to 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate to Lebanon in 2013, and a Portuguese nitrate trader who visited the warehouses where the material was stored a year later.  

About 200 people were killed and more than 6,000 were injured in the explosion on August 4 at the port of Beirut that also caused great destruction kilometers away. So far about 30 people, mostly port and customs officials, have been arrested in connection with the tragedy. Last month, the prosecutor investigating the explosion filed charges against former Prime Minister Hassan Diab (who resigned following the explosion) and three former ministers, accusing them of negligence.