News August 10, 2020 at 10:33 am

Ammonium nitrate in Beirut blast was meant for explosives company in Mozambique

Nii Ntreh August 10, 2020 at 10:33 am

August 10, 2020 at 10:33 am | News

Fabrica de Explosivos Mocambique (FEM) has confirmed that the ammonium nitrate that exploded in Beirut has been ordered by the company. Photo Credit: Balkaninsight.com

The 2750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that exploded in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4 was a consignment meant for explosives manufacturing company in Mozambique, reports say.

Fabrica de Explosivos Mocambique (FEM) confirmed to CNN that they had ordered the substance almost seven years ago but it never came. FEM makes explosives for mining companies in Mozambique.

FEM also told CNN that the ammonium nitrate from Beirut was the only shipment that was never delivered, a strange occurrence that seems unusual to the company.

“This is not common. It’s absolutely not common. Usually, when you place an order for whatever it is that you’re buying, it’s not common that you don’t get the goods. This is a vessel, it’s not like one thing that was lost in the mail, it’s a big quantity,” a spokesperson told the news broadcaster.

The chemical compound was made in Georgia from where it was conveyed in September 2013 on a Russian ship. The ship docked in Beirut and the chemical was taken into storage until the fateful day.

FEM tried to get their order through a trading company but “we were just informed by that trading company: there’s a problem with the vessel, your order is not going to be delivered. So, we never paid for it, we never received it.”

The company was, however, surprised to learn that the chemical consignment that was originally meant for them was what had caused the explosion in Beirut.

“It’s a dangerous material, it’s a very powerful oxidizer and is used for producing explosives. But it’s not like gunpowder that you just light a match and it will immediately go off like pyrotechnics. It’s a lot more stable,” the spokesperson added.

Fatalities from the explosion are rising steadily with the last count putting the number of dead people over 200. More than 100,000 have been left homeless and some 4,000 are inured.

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