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The ship that never left: Reason behind the deadly Beirut explosion

Vishnu Vasisht

As Lebanon's investigation into the devastating explosion in Beirut continues, officials have pointed out that the huge shipment of agricultural fertilizers that was stored for years in the port of Beirut without security measures - despite warnings by local officials.

Documents recently reviewed by CNN show that a cargo of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut on a Russian ship in 2013. The ship, called the MV Rhosus, was destined for Mozambique, but stopped in Beirut due to financial problems.

Once arrived, the ship never left the port of Beirut, according to Badri Daher, Lebanon's customs director, despite repeated warnings from him and others that the cargo was the equivalent of 'a floating bomb'.

Lebanese authorities have not named the MV Rhosus as the reason for the blast, but the Prime Minister of Lebanon said that the devastating blast was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. He added that the substance had been stored for six years at the port warehouse without safety measures.

At least 135 have been reported dead and more than 5,000 injuries.

In 2013, the ship set off from Georgia, destined for Mozambique. The ship stopped in Greece to refuel. That's when the ship's owner told the sailors that he had run out of money and they would have to pick up additional cargo to cover the travel costs - which led them on a detour to Beirut.

It never resumed its journey.

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