Ex-captain of cargo ship blames Lebanese authorities for blast
Boris Prokoshev, the former captain of the ship that brought almost 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate to Beirut, said Lebanese authorities were "very well" aware of the dangers posed by the vessel's cargo.
"It's the Government of Lebanon that brought about this situation," Prokoshev told the Associated Press news agency from his home in the Krasnodar region of Russia.
His ship, the MV Rhosus, was not supposed to be in Lebanon at all, he said.
When it set sail from the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi, the ship was bound for the Mozambiquan port of Beira. But the Rhosus made a stop in Beirut to try to earn extra money by taking on several pieces of heavy machinery.
The machinery proved too heavy for the Rhosus, however, and the crew refused to take it on. And the ship was soon impounded by the Lebanese authorities for failing to pay port fees, and never left the port again.
"They knew very well that there was dangerous cargo there," Prokoshev said. "In my opinion, they should have even paid him [the owner of the boat] to take the dangerous cargo, a real headache, out of the port. But they just arrested the ship instead."
(Source: Zaheena Rasheed & Linah Alsaafin, Al Jazeera)