6 Aug, 2020
Ship whose cargo allegedly exploded in Lebanon belongs to Russian businessman
Aftermath of a massive explosion is seen in Beirut AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS. Entrepreneur from Khabarovsk turned out to be the owner of the Rhosus ship from which, allegedly, ammonium nitrate that possibly exploded in Beirut’s port was confiscated, the Seafarers’ Union of Russia reported on its website on Wednesday.
"In 2013, a bulk cargo ship sailing under Moldovan flag was carrying hazardous cargo from Batumi to Mozambique and made an unplanned call to Beirut. There the motor vessel was detained by the port authorities due to the technical violations of operations. Simultaneously the crew consisting of Russian and Ukrainian citizens appealed to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) complaining that their employer, a Cyprian Teto Shipping company from the beginning of the contracts had not been paying their salary. <…> In response to the ITF address, the ship’s owner, a businessman from Khabarovsk, promised to sell the ship and settle the debts," the statement said.
According to the professional union, at first the port authorities were not giving permission to unload the hazardous cargo. By March 2014, only the captain, chief and third engineers, and the boatswain remained aboard. "Then the sailors said that in addition to the ship’s detention and the unpaid salary, the crew was also worried by the fact that the Rhosus carried particularly dangerous cargo - ammonium nitrate. Beirut’s port authorities refused either to unload the cargo or to move it to a different vessel," the statement said.
In the summer of 2014, during the meeting with a consulate official, director general of land and maritime transport Abdel Hafiz El Kaissi reported that Lebanese authorities began to review the issue of repatriation of the Rhosus crew combined with the issue of the sale of the vessel and its explosive cargo.
"In the end, the court issued a permission to unload ammonium nitrate but the port agent M. Baghdadi continued to postpone the repatriation of sailors flat out refusing to hire the local technical crew. After some time the locals to unload the cargo were found, and the crew was allowed to return home. The staff of the Assol Sailors’ Support Foundation in Odessa assisted in repatriation, the statement noted.
To date, according to the information of the ITF inspector in Novorossiysk Olga Ananyina, the ship’s owner hasn’t paid the crew yet and the hazardous cargo was not disposed of properly over all this time.
Iran's Judiciary head urges intl. action against US sanctions on Lebanon after massive blast
Wednesday, 05 August 2020
Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi has called on the international community to take action to help lift US sanctions against Lebanon to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in themthe wake of a recent massive explosion that ravaged the country's capital Beirut.
The Iranian official on Wednesday offered his condolences to the Lebanese government and nation over the tragic explosion in Beirut, and said the damage to an important part of Beirut's economic infrastructure and its consequences have doubled the tragedy for the people of the country.
The necessary action today, while maintaining national coherence and vigilance against acts by enemies of the Lebanese nation and government aimed at invoking sedition and division, is to immediately address the basic needs of the Lebanese people, whose supply has been disrupted as a result of this incident, Raeisi added.
He said this painful incident took place at a time when the wounds caused by the Israeli occupation and its repeated acts of aggressions against the Lebanese people have not yet healed, coupled with Washington's brutal sanctions against Beirut.
"Considering the cruel and inhumane sanctions imposed by the criminal US regime against the Lebanese people in recent months, which constitute a serious obstacle to addressing the essential needs of the Lebanese people, efforts to immediately lift these sanctions in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe must be on the agenda of the governments having friendly ties with Lebanon as well as the international community," the Iranian Judiciary chief noted.
He added that the Iranian Judiciary's High Council for Human Rights will put on the agenda taking legal action to remove these pressures and defend the rights of the Lebanese people.
Hundreds of individuals and entities have been sanctioned by the US in Lebanon, with the list focusing mainly on those with ties to the Hezbollah resistance movement. The list, however, includes a wide range of targets, from pharmaceutical companies, religious organizations and community outreach groups to banks and trading importer/exporters.
Observers say that the US sanctions on Lebanon have deteriorated the already struggling economy of the Arab country.
Rouhani tasks Iranian Red Crescent Society with sending aid to Lebanon
President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday tasked the Iranian Red Crescent Society with sending humanitarian aid to Lebanon.
In remarks at a Wednesday cabinet meeting, Rouhani assigned the Iranian Red Crescent Society to immediately send humanitarian aid to Lebanon, including medical and health supplies.
Zarif: Iran sending field hospital to Lebanon to assist with disaster relief
Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet on Wednesday that Iran was sending a field hospital and medicines to Lebanon to contribute to relief operations.
"Reiterated #Iran's strong and steadfast solidarity with people of Lebanon in call with FM Wehbeh," read part of the tweet, adding, " Iran is sending field hospital & medicine to assist with disaster relief." " Iran stands with Lebanon," it concluded.
Iran's top cmdrs, defense minister sympathize with Lebanese
Separately, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri and Army Commander Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi also commiserated with the Lebanese nation, government and army as well as Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the tragic incident and expressed readiness to render assistance to the nation.
Also, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami, in a phone conversation with his Lebanese counterpart, voiced Tehran's readiness to send medical equipment and staff to Beirut.
Tehran to turn off Milad Tower lights in solidarity with Beirut
Following the tragic explosion in Beirut and the death of dozens of citizens of this city, the lights of Milad Tower, the sixth tallest tower in the world, will be turned off tonight at 9 p.m local time (0430 GMT) on Wednesday, August 6, as a sign of sympathy of the Iranian people with the Lebanese people.
The blast that rocked the Lebanese capital has so far killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000 others.
“I think there are between 250,000 and 300,000 people who are now without homes.”
That is an estimate given by Beirut’s governor Marwan Aboud.
On Tuesday, the most powerful explosion in the Lebanese capital in years flattened much of the city’s strategic port and left buildings in ruin.
So far, over one hundred people have been killed.
Many more, close to 4,000, have been hospitalized with wounds.
The governor said Wednesday that the blast had caused damage across half of the city. The cost: somewhere between $3.0 and $5.0 billion.
Engineers and technical teams have yet to conduct an official assessment, the governor added.
President Michel Aoun has called for a two-week state of emergency in Beirut.
Edited by Patsy, 06 August 2020 - 10:33 AM.