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Beirut: The road for ammonia nitrate – Russian businessman behind deadly cargo

New information is emerging about the course of the deadly amount of ammonia nitrate that is spreading death in Beirut.

Specifically, the Cypriot authorities deny that the Moldovan flagged ship was intended for Mozambique in 2013, while its Russian shipowner “disappeared” after mooring in Beirut, leaving the ship, crew and cargo.

The course ships to the port of Beirut

According to what has become known so far, the cargo ship RHOSUS arrived at the port of Beirut in 2013 loaded with ammonia nitrate.

The ammonia nitrate was loaded on RHOSUS from Batumi, Georgia, on the Black Sea, and the final destination, according to its commander, was Mozambique. During the voyage to the Mediterranean, the ship, which was built in Japan in 1

986, was damaged and docked in Beirut. According to information from the Cypriot authorities, quoted by the newspaper “Proto Thema”, it is doubtful whether the country on the southeast coast of Africa was its final destination.

The same sources “photograph” Syria as the final destination of the cargo destination, while it is alleged that the transport to Georgia was a ploy not to reveal that the real sender was Iran. What is certain is that the cargo was confiscated and instead of being destroyed, it was stored in the port for six years. According to other sources, the maintenance of ammonia nitrate may be due to pressure from Hezbollah.

Months after the cargo ship arrived in June 2014, Lebanese customs director Shafik Merhi sent a letter to an anonymous “rescue judge” seeking a solution to the dangerous cargo, according to documents released online.

Customs officials sent at least five more letters over the next three years asking for guidance. They proposed three options: export the cargo, deliver it to the Lebanese army or sell it to a private Lebanese explosives company.

In addition, a 2014 report attributed to the ship’s master, Boris Prokoshev, stated that the Beirut authorities “do not want an abandoned ship in port, especially with a cargo of explosives”. Elsewhere, he spoke of “a floating bomb where the crew is being held hostage.”

Reports say Prokoshev and his crew remained in the Lebanese port for at least a year after arriving.

Shipowner Igor Grechushkin and RHOSUS sink

Following the immobilization of RHOSUS, “shipowner Igor Grechushkin” disappeared, leaving the crew without food and pay, the Lebanese authorities did not allow Russian captain Boris Prokoshev and the Ukrainians – crew members – to leave Lebanon. chronic decommissioning and because it had not been maintained.From 2018, the ship’s existence is questioned according to relevant platforms.

Captain Prokoshev and the rest of the crew tried to sue and sued Grechushkin in the Russian court for the money he owed them, but to no avail, after he had left the country.

A deleted profile on the social networking platform LinkedIn says that Grechushkin currently lives in Cyprus and works as head of Unimar Service Ltd. Calls to a company with a similar name and profile, Unimar Safety Services and Equipment, by Russian media reporters over the past two days have gone unanswered.

RHOSUS in Limassol 2012, two years before it was immobilized in the Lebanese port

RHOSUS in Limassol 2012, two years before it was immobilized in the Lebanese port

Ammonia nitrate in Larnaca

In 2015, the Cypriot authorities found 8.2 tonnes of ammonia nitrate stored in the basement of an apartment in Agioi Anargyroi, Larnaca. Hussein Bassam Abdallah, a 26-year-old Lebanese man who was a member of Hezbollah and acted on its behalf, was arrested in connection with the case.

Hussein Abdallah had pleaded guilty to eight crimes committed between 2012 and May 27, 2015 in Larnaca, Lebanon and elsewhere. In the basement of the house, 447 cartons were found, in which there were 65,573 packages of ammonia nitrate, weighing a total of 8.2 tons. In the house’s bedroom, 9,400 euros were found, as well as notes with names, telephone numbers and addresses.

Similarities with the explosion in Marie

By July 2011, a huge explosion had spread death in Cyprus. There were 98 containers loaded with explosives, seized from a ship sailing from Iran to Syria. Explosives were stored outdoors and were not confiscated, as the Assad regime had been told that they would somehow fall into his possession. Time and high temperatures damaged the explosives, which exploded and killed 13 people at the lake base “Evangelos Florakis” in the village of Mari, near Limassol.

With information from Guardian / Naftemporiki / First issue / Daily Mail / Phileleftheros

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