The news agency Reuters and the New York Times are now drawing the picture behind the massive explosions that have ruined Lebanon's capital and so far cost more than 130 lives.

Six years ago, a ship named "Rhosus", chartered by a Russian businessman on its way to Mozambique, docked at the port.

On board were over 2000 tons of ammonium nitrate, a substance that is used in fertilizers or to make explosives.

"I was terrified"

However, due to financial problems, the ship never made it. It was abandoned by its owner and the cargo was taken to a warehouse in the heart of Beirut. There, six years later, according to Lebanese authorities, it would cause a devastating explosion.

"I was horrified," the ship's now 70-year-old captain Boris Prokoshev told the New York Times.

The head of the port, Hassan Koraytem, ‚Äč‚Äčtells the TV channel OTV that the substance was placed in the warehouse after a court decision. He says they knew it was dangerous, but not to what extent.

Warns in several letters

Customs officials have since several times during the years 2014-2017 written to the court authority and asked for advice on how to get rid of ammonium nitrate, you can read in public documents published on Twitter by the Lebanese MP Salim Aoun.

In the letters, the customs authority proposes, among other things, to donate the ammonium nitrate to the Lebanese army or sell it to a privately owned Lebanese company that handles explosives.

"Given the danger of having this shipment in our warehouses in an unsuitable climate, we reiterate our request that the shipping authority export the shipment immediately," the head of Lebanese customs wrote in May 2016, according to the New York Times.

The news agency Reuters quotes another source as saying that inspectors six months ago warned that the ammonium nitrate could "blow up the whole of Beirut" if it was not taken care of.

Lebanese authorities have not yet responded to the information.