Fertilizer industry “deeply touched” by Beirut explosion
(Posted on 10/08/20)
Last week’s explosions at the port of Beirut have deeply touched the world’s fertilizer industry. The extremely powerful second blast resulted in at least 158 deaths, 6,000 injuries, and US$10–15 billion in property damage, and made an estimated 300,000 people homeless. The blast has been linked to about 2,750 tonnes (3,030 short tons; 2,710 long tons) of ammonium nitrate – equivalent to around 1.2 kt of TNT. Many have been angered that such a large quantity of potentially explosive material was stored inside a warehouse without any safety measures for more than six years, so close to the centre of the city.
The Lebanese government has not named the source of the ammonium nitrate, but the same amount of the chemical arrived in Beirut in November 2013 on the MV Rhosus, a Moldovan-flagged cargo ship.
Fertilizers Europe, which represents the interests of the majority of mineral fertilizer manufacturers in the European Union released the following statement:
“The European fertilizer industry is deeply touched by the tragic events in Beirut.
While little is known at this stage, media reports indicate that ammonium nitrate have been part of the explosion.
Safety is a top priority for us and our partners in the fertilizer industry. Fertilizers of all types
are safe when handled correctly. Through certification programmes and regular trainings,
Fertilizers Europe continuously strive to ensure fertilizer products are produced, transported
and stored safely and securely across Europe.
From media reports, we gather that the authorities of Lebanon continue to investigate the cause and look forward to the outcome of those efforts.”
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