The countdown to the catastrophe that witnessed Beirut began more than six years ago, specifically when it stopped, in the port of the Lebanese capital, and on Tuesday, a loud explosion caused more than 137 dead and five thousand wounded, at a time when some details that increase the ambiguity of what happened have been revealed every day. Actually in Amber No. 12 of the harbor and led to this catastrophe that stunned the whole world.
The captain of the cargo ship "Rusos" chartered by a Russian company, Russian Boris Prokoshev, broke out of his silence, on Thursday, and he said by telephone to the New York Times, from a resort on the Black Sea coast where the ship started its journey in 2013: "I was terrified after watching The explosion. "
He added that the ship, which caused the catastrophe of Beirut, which was flying the flag of Moldova, was chartered by a Russian businessman living in Cyprus called Igor Grechushkin, to transport a shipment of ammonium nitrate more than 2000 tons to the port of Beira in Mozambique, noting that the ship departed from the port of Batumi on The Black Sea is in Georgia, and it stopped in Turkey because of the sailors dispute over the salary, and that he was contracted to complete the trip from Turkey to Mozambique for a million dollars.
According to a Lebanese law firm representing the company, the shipment was on its way to Mozambique to use the materials in the manufacture of explosives, and the captain confirmed that he could not cross the Suez Canal because the owner told him that he was no longer able to secure enough money to pay him, and asked him to go to Beirut Port to download a shipment of machines that would provide them The money needed to cross the Suez Canal, adding that the ship arrived in Lebanon two months after sailing from Georgia.
Prokoshev stated that when he arrived in Beirut, he found that the ship will not be able to load these machines because they are old and have reached the age of 30 - 40 years and no longer bear any more weights. Docking fees, when the sailors tried to contact the ship's owner Gryoshushkin to obtain money for fuel, food and other essentials, they failed to reach it, and Prokoshev said: "He apparently left the ship that he rented."
The load didn't worry them
The captain indicated that six of the crew returned to their homes, but Lebanese officials forced him and three Ukrainian crew to stay on the plane until the debt problem was resolved, and according to their lawyers, Lebanese immigration restrictions prevented the crew from leaving the ship, and they struggled to obtain Food and other supplies.
Prokoshev stated that Lebanese port officials had pitied the hungry crew and provided food, but added that they had shown no concern about the ship's very dangerous shipment, saying: "They only wanted the money that we owe."
Their case attracted attention in Ukraine, where news reports described the stranded crew as "hostages trapped on board an abandoned ship," and the captain appealed to his country's embassy.
In the end Prokoshev was forced to sell the ship's fuel and use his proceeds to entrust a Lebanese law firm to defend them, and the lawyers warned the Lebanese authorities that the ship was at risk of "drowning or exploding at any moment."
Indeed, a Lebanese judge ordered the ship's crew to be released on humanitarian grounds in 2014, while the lethal shipment was transferred to ward 12 and remained there until the day of the explosion.
Prokoshev said that Lebanese officials made a mistake when they insisted on reserving the boat and keeping a shipment of ammonium nitrate in the port instead of spreading it in the fields, adding that he knew that the ship sank in 2015 or 2016, noting that he was surprised that the explosion was delayed all this time.
Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer component called ammonium, which farmers buy in large bags or by weight. They are non-flammable but oxidizing products, that is, they allow the combustion of another combustible substance, and Jimmy Oxley, a chemistry professor at Rhode Island University who has conducted studies on ignition of ammonium nitrate, confirmed that "it is very difficult to ignite" and that it is "not easy to detonate."
The ship's captain's claim is decreasing with other accounts, one of which was reported by Reuters from Ship Aristide.com, a network that deals with lawsuits in the shipping sector, that the ship docked in Beirut in September 2013 when it experienced technical problems while sailing from Georgia to Mozambique carrying 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate.
According to two documents that were seen by Reuters, Lebanese customs asked the judiciary in 2016 and 2017 to ask the concerned maritime institutions to re-export or agree to the sale of ammonium nitrate, which was transported from the Roussus cargo ship and was deposited with number 12, to ensure the safety of The port.
As for the French news agency, it quoted security sources as suggesting that the ship passed in the form of a transit in Beirut. As for the reason for its arrest, he confirmed that a Lebanese company had claimed to the judge of urgent matters the company that owned it, then it was seized from the judiciary, then its cargo was emptied, because it was Suffering from damage and wear, and the ship subsequently sank in front of the port of Beirut.
While "Reuters" quoted the website "Ship Aristide.com" as saying that the reason for the confiscation of the shipment is that after the inspection of the ship that followed its stop at the port of Beirut, it was prevented from sailing, then its owners abandoned it after a short time, which prompted different creditors to file claims. Legal.
These three accounts raise the question marks about the truth of the ship's itinerary, and did it reach Lebanon by chance? Or did someone want her to unload its cargo in Lebanon in a twisted way, so that he would not be responsible for this amount of ammunition? Is it really that corruption alone and poor storage is what led to this catastrophe?
In response to these questions, Luqman Salim, the Lebanese political analyst, said that the accounts about how the ship arrived in Beirut and that it arrived due to technical defects in the ship or transit and seized it due to the non-payment of debts that were anchored at the port, in addition to the way the judiciary and security deal with the shipment, the ship and its crew, Shows that the ship's final destination is Beirut, not Mozambique.
He added in statements to the American "Al-Hurra" channel that what happened after the ship arrived and the storage of ammonium nitrate shipment in the port indicates that what happened is a complicated process to cover up the main destination of the shipment, which is certainly not Mozambique, as some reports claim.
With regard to the owner of this shipment in Beirut, Salim mentioned that he who was, and still is, controls the port and security and has a upper hand in the judiciary inside Lebanon, which is Hezbollah, and it is likely that the party is the one behind the import of this shipment.
Salim did not hide that a large part of the Lebanese people lost confidence in the Lebanese judiciary and security since 2005, that is, after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, considering that any investigation result that will emerge after the Beirut explosion will be subject to doubts, and demanded the formation of an international or international - Arab - Lebanese Lebanese investigation committee To get to the truth.
There is much talk in Beirut about "Amber No. 12", especially after the explosion, where it appeared that some political officials and even security officials do not know the truth of what this amber closed tightly contained, and here sources confirm in the Beirut Port, that this amber is intended for confiscated materials, while it says The sources considered that it is considered a focal point for the corrupt, others confirm that this amber is under the control of Hezbollah, which it uses to store weapons, and also allows its supporters and the surrounding circle to exploit it for illegal activities, and with this conclusion remains the question that the Lebanese may not know his answer to "who destroyed their city, and how ? "