Tag Archives: explosion

Beirut: Rhosus capitan complained to Putin in vain

Rhosus entered the port of Beirut on November 21, 2013 and never left it again, the former capitan of the vessel Boris Prokoshev said in an interview to Russian media “Siberia. Realia”, reminiscent of his hostage experience, while administration of the port banned him and a part of his crew to leave Lebanon, until the fee to port would be paid by the ship owner.

“I wrote to Putin every month. I wrote that our condition is worse than that of the prisoners. The prisoner knows when he will be released, but we did not know when we would be released! And would we be released at all! The answer was a formal reply: your appeal was sent to the Foreign Ministry. The [Russian] consulate told me: what do you want? Putin to send special forces to release you from here by force? They could hire a lawyer, sue. But they did nothing. As a result, we sold the fuel ourselves and hired a lawyer. He filed a lawsuit against the Lebanese authorities, because they had no right to keep us, moreover our contracts have already ended. And through the court we were allowed to leave” Prokoshev said, sharing his memeories about his unfortunate work at Rhosus, which carried fertilises to Beirut port.

The last time the ship transmitted the signal was on August 7, 2014 – the same month the crew left it. The Lebanese authorities moved the cargo from the ship to a warehouse in the port, and in 2015 Rhosus was towed about 300 meters further. In February 2018, due to leaks, the ship sank in a few days. The Beirut authorities did not do anything with it, the remains of the vessel did not interfere with traffic, the newspaper writes.

One of the possible causes of Beirut blasts is said to be welding in the warehouse where the explosive cargo was stored. Lebanese President Michel Aoun has underlined that three versions of the incident are being considered: an accident, negligence of officials and external interference. Aoun did not rule out a bomb or rocket attack.

Ammonium nitrate, stored in the port of Beirut exploded on August 4, could not detonate on its own – for this, an external influence was necessary, the former captain of the vessel Prokoshev said, from whose ship an explosive cargo was confiscated six years ago.

“There was some external reason. Maybe a spark, maybe arson, an explosive device. There was some kind of external detonator,” Boris Prokoshev explained. According to him, the ammonium nitrate had double package – an airtight polyethylene bag and one more dense. “Air and water did not enter there. Each bag weighed a ton, there were 2,750 bags,” Prokoshev said.

In an interview with “Siberia. Realia” the captain said that he was hired at the moment when the Russian Igor Grechushkin bought it. According to the sailor, in 2013 the crew was sent to Batumi for a cargo of mineral fertilizers for delivery to Mozambique, but during the voyage the ship owner demanded to navigate to Lebanon and take an additional cargo of equipment of heavy machinery. It was then in the port of Beirut that the problems occurred. The Beirut cargo appeared too heavvy to be loaded, and also the port fee was not paid. These two debts had created a legal problem for Rhosus to leave the port, because the administration was not willing to realise it untill the amount paid, the capitan explained.

According to the captain, it turned out that the shipowner did not pay for either food supplies or port dues, and also owed 4 months’ salary to the previous crew. The Beirut authorities have forbidden “Rosus” to leave the port until the payment of the debts, and the sailors were banned to leave the country, de facto becoming the hostages of the port administration.

«And we stuck there for 11 months!» Prokoshev said. «We were not paid».

The sailors tried to go on strike and organize a hunger strike, but “there is no point in starving on the ship, only to die,” the former captain underlined. The sailors were able to return home only a year later, selling part of the fuel and hiring a lawyer, who sued the Lebanese government for illegally retaining part of the crew. Three months later, the court decided to allow the sailors to repatriate.

According to Prokoshev, the saltpeter was unloaded from the vessel after the crew left. At the same time, the sailors were left without the due salary. According to the captain’s calculations, he is owed more than $ 200,000, including damages for detention in Beirut.

Back in 2014, Prokoshev complained to the seamen’s union in Novorossiysk about the problems of the Rhosus crew. The complaint stated that the owner of the vessel could not sell it and pay off the sailors because of the dangerous cargo on board. The captain noted that the owner of the ship was offered to abandon it. In this case, all debts would have been paid, and Rhosus would have been sold for scrap, but the owner refused.

Grechushkin at first seemed normal, the captan said. Later he learned that the previous crew of “Rosus” left due to non-payment of salaries. They did not tell him anything, explained the dismissal by the fact that we had to go to Mozambique, and this is far, they did not want to. Initailly the captain was glad to go so far as Mozambique: to earn more for long distance navigation.

Rhosus first anchored in Greece, ordered food and supplies for the long voyage, but suddenly Grechushkin refused to pay. He said he had no money. Then he demanded to navigate to Beirut to take extra cargo on deck and earn extra money. There the ship was arrested for non-payment of the port dues.

Part of the team was able to leave Lebanon, but they refused to release the capitan, the chief engineer, the third engineer and the boatswain. The Lebanese authorities simply didn’t want to pay anyone to guard the vessel, and the dangerous cargo.

“…We lived at Rosus for 11 months. Grechushkin did not pay us and did not even buy food, one might say, doomed us to hunger. The port sent us food” he said.

“Our situation was worse than that of the prisoners: they know when they will be released, but we did not. I am a Russian citizen and every month I wrote to Putin! But I only got meaningless replies. The Russian consulate did nothing for us. We ended up selling fuel from the ship and hiring a lawyer”, he added. Through the courts, he obtained the release from the Lebanese authorities.

After returning to Russia, the capitan tried to sue Grechushkin, but he was told to file a lawsuit at his place of residence. And at that time he was already living in Cyprus. Grechushkin owes to the capitan $60 000, the chief engineer – $50 000, the third engineer – around $20 000, the boatswain – about $10 000. Although the customers from Mozambique paid him a million dollars, according to the previous captain of the Rosus, the capitan continues, Grechushkin just decided to abandon the ship and pocket a million.

At first the capitan was not worried: “I thought that the customers would not leave the cargo, they only paid a million for the transportation. But they “showed no movement at all”.

After the departure of the second part of the crew, ammonium nitrate from “Rosus” was unloaded to a warehouse under the responsibility of the Lebanese Ministry of Transport. The capitan learned about this from sailors he knew who came to Beirut. And the ship sank two or three years ago. It had a small hole, it was necessary to periodically pump out water. And if there was no crew, there was no one to do it, the capitan continued his narrative.

Boris Prokoshev is convinced that the authorities themselves are to blame for yesterday’s explosion in Beirut. “There was no point in arresting this ship, it was necessary to get rid of it as soon as possible!” the capitan concluded.

President Aoun: blasts causes unknown

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said the Beirut  explosion cause remains unknown and that there’s a possible external interference via a rocket, bomb or another act, Reuters reports citing the president’s office.

It was the first acknowledgement by a Lebanese official of the possibility that huge blast may have been caused by a deliberate attack. Previously the prevailing hypothesis has been the negligence of the port administration, which did not evacuate the massive amount of the explosive substance, ignoring the demands of the relevant inspectorate during six years.

In the aftermath of the explosion the official had said a fire at the port had ignited tonnes of ammonium nitrate expropriated from a cargo ship and stored for years in a warehouse, and directly blamed the port administration.

Président also underlined that there will be no international investigation into the explosion causes. “No colonial power will return to Lebanon” he said, while answering questions of press.

The blast has killed at least 154 people, injured around to 5,000 and left 300,000 people homeless, among them 80 000 children.

Russia sends mobile hospital to Beirut

Russian Ministry of Emergency announced that five planes were immedialtey sent to Lebanon transporting mobile medical hospital for injured and specialists in search and rescue with equipment to work in the debris in the aftermath of explosion that occurred at Beirut Port on August 4.

The Ministry’s press office told radio Sputnik: “Five planes belonging to the Russian Ministry of Emergency will be sent as part of the humanitarian work to Beirut to provide assistance and eliminate the effects of the port explosion.”

The press office added: “The aircraft will transport a mobile hospital, doctors and workers from the rescue center, in addition to specialists from the Consumer Protection Authority, as well as laboratories to detect the emerging corona virus, Covid-19.”

The Ministry also announced the dispatch of experts from the Russian Consumer Protection Agency to Beirut, lab kits to test for coronavirus, clothes and means of protection.

A huge explosion shook the port of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, earlier on Tuesday, causing over 80 deaths deaths, 3,500 injuries and great material losses.

Afghanistan: explosion at Helmand market

A car bombing and mortar shells fired at a crowded market in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province on Monday, Juin 29, killed 23 people, including children, a statement from a provincial governor’s office said.

The attack could not be independently confirmed as the Taliban controlled area, is remote and inaccessible to reporters. At present both the Taliban and the Afghan military blamed each other for the killings of the civilians.

The statement from the office of the Helmand province governor, General Mohammad Yasin, did not provide further details and there was no claim of responsibility for the bombing.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, denied the insurgents were involved in the attack. The Taliban claimed the military fired mortars into the market while the military said that on contrary it was a car bomb and mortar shells fired by the insurgents targeted the civilians.

The army said there was no military activity in the area on Juin 29 and that two Taliban fighters were also killed when the car bomb detonated at the marketplace. Animals brought for sale – sheep and goats – were also killed.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the “brutal and inhumane act.”

“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan once again calls on the Taliban to refrain from war and violence and to accept the will of the Afghan people, which is the end of the war and the start of negotiations,” Ghani’s statement said.

Lyon: Mohamed H. principal suspect

The main suspect of the bomb attack in Lyon Mohammed H. a computer science student of 24 years, and three members of his entourage were arrested May 27 and placed in custody, announced the Paris prosecutor’s office and sources close to the ‘investigation.

The Algerian student, previously unknown to the police, according to officials, is suspected of having placed May 24 afternoon a parcel bomb containing bolts, screws and metal balls in front of a bakery, not far from the station of Lyon-Perrache.

Here is an Algerian who enjoys with his family generosity of France (studies, social housing, etc.) and thanks by posing a bomb.
We must end the immigration and family reunification that put the lives of our children in danger!” writes regional Regional Councilor Agnes Marion.

The explosion, which left 13 injured, including eight women and a 10-year-old girl, has not been claimed at this stage.

According to a source close to the investigation, traces of DNA were found on the remains of the package and the explosive used was TATP, a very unstable craft substance used in particular in the attacks of 13 November 2015 in Paris.

Bomber screams Allah Akbar in Amsterdam airport

The witnesses in Schiphol Ariport, The Netherldands claim the bomber, threatening to blow up airport shouted “Allah Akbar’.

AMENDED: Dutch police has not discovered any explosives on the arrested individual. NOS TV channel reported, that the alleged bomber is 51 year old Canadian citizen, the same sources added that his is physiologically unstable.



Tourist bus blast in Egypt

A tourist bus explosion in near site of Giza Pyramids in Egypt reported by a number of leading news agencies. According to reports there are dead and wounded. There are pictures claimed to be from the scene of the explosion.

Details to follow.

AMENDED: Two dead and 14 wounded reported by local media.

AMENDED: officials qualify the blast as a terrorist attack, highly likely perpetrated by militants of Islamic State (ISIS). However no terrorist group claimed the attack so far.

AMDENDED:  The bus was carrying 12 Vietnamese tourists when an homemade device placed near a wall along the Mariyutiya street, near the Giza Pyramids, went off. 2 people died, 10 were injured as well as the bus driver and the tour guide, both Egyptian.

Giza explosion

Multiple blasts at Kabul polling stations

Explosions reported from polling stations in Kabul hours after the voting procedure for Afghanistan parliament elections started. There is no further detail at the moment, however TOLONews agency reports high turnout from early morning hours.

TOLOnews’ reporter Nematullah Ahmadi reports from northern Badakhshan province that Independent Election  Commission  (IEC) staff have not received enough training to use biometric devices properly – which has caused major problems for voters. Despite this he says turnout is huge in Badakhshan.

The active participation of women is reported from different provinces. Some of them made it clear to the reporters they will vote for women-candidates, representing their interests.

The recent violence in Afghanistan, notably yesterday’s attack in Kandahar and recent assaults on civilians and candidates for the parliamentary elections during political rallies, aims at dissuading voters to exercise their democratic right. But nobody can deprive the Afghan people of the right to decide their own future,” said the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS) ahead of the elections.

Putin admits “terrorist act” in Saint-Petersburg

Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted the obvious: a blast of a ‘needle bomb’ in St. Petersburg on Wednesday evening in a supermarket is a “terrorist act”. The head of state ordered Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to act within the law when detaining criminals, but in the situation of a threat to the lives of law enforcement officers, no one should be captured but “eliminated on spot”.

According to the latest information, the December 27  (18:55 LT) blast at a supermarket in St. Petersburg’s Kondratyevsky avenue caused injuries to 13 people, among them a pregnant women, eight of them remain in hospitals. An explosive device stuffed with striking metal elements – a ‘needle-bomb’ – detonated in a supermarket at a ground floor of the shopping mall in self-storage lockers at the entrance.

The images  of a presumed terrorist taken by CCTV have been released shortly after the blast by Russian counter-terrorism committee. Petersburg media swiftly released an image of a man with “Oriental” or “Non-Slavic” features as a major suspect. According to the investigation practices it is kept secret, and very few details are revealed to public.




Injured in explosion in St.Petersburg supermarket

In the evening 50 people have been evacuated from a St.Petersburg supermarket after an explosion (18:55 local time, when the maximum of clients were shopping). 10 among them with injures delivered to hospitals, two in critical condition, according to city media.

“The investigators are exploring all versions. An improvised explosive device stuffed with shrapnel and with a powder equivalent to 200 grams of TNT was detonated in a shopping mall,” Svetlana Petrenko, the Spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee said. Petrenko underlined that the investigators are tracking all possible versions of the “incident”. The investigations are supposed to be conducted in secret, so many details are not publicly available. At the moment Russian media also names the explosion “an incident”.

Among 50 evacuated, 10 people were hospitalised, two in between life and death, local newspaper Fontanka writes about three people evacuated by paramedics.

The city’s department of the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal investigation into the “attempted murder against two and more persons“. Investigators, forensic experts, security services and police officers are working at the spot.

The same building accommodates an entertainment center, which has been one of the most popular destinations for residents of Russia’s northern capital. It also hosts a banquet hall, concert hall, restaurant and supermarket. It is visited by families as entertainment center with facilities for young children and teenagers.


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