Boris Prokoshev, the captain of the ship carrying the ammonium nitrate shipment that was detained in Beirut, said that he had issued several warnings about the danger of this substance years before it exploded and destroyed large parts of Beirut. The captain, whose ship was forced to stop in Beirut, added that he had written several times to Russian President Vladimir Putin informing him of the dangerous ship after its detention.
Prokoshev, 70, said the ship's owner, Igor Gryoshushkin, had announced his abandonment, leaving its crew stuck for several months in the port of Beirut. The crew was freed the following year for captivity, while the amount of ammonium was placed in a warehouse where it remained for six years until it exploded last Tuesday.
The captain said that the Lebanese authorities detained the ship about a year in the port with the captain and promised the crew to obtain fees and fines from its owner, and after the explosion it is said to have disappeared from view. "We lived like someone who lived on a powder keg for ten months without getting our wages. Our conditions of life were worse than the prisoners. At least the prisoners know when they will be released," the captain added.
The captain said he had appealed to President Putin to move about the ship and knew that his appeal had passed through the Russian Foreign Ministry, adding that some officials in Beirut laughed at him, saying, "What do you want? Putin will send you special forces. "
In the end, the crew of the ship were allowed to leave, while the cargo was unloaded to a warehouse under the responsibility of the Lebanese Ministry of Transport, according to the captain. He added, "After a few years, the ship sank because there was a small hole in it so we used to pump water from it regularly.
When the captain was asked about an explosion on Tuesday, he answered that the Lebanese authorities were responsible.