It has been five months since one of the biggest non-nuclear blasts on record, but still, big questions remain about the ammonium nitrate that detonated after being stored at the port for years. Interpol has issued red notices for the captain and owner of the ship which was holding the chemicals which devastated Beirut in an explosion that took place in August 2020, killing 200 people, according to Lebanon’s state media.
The Interpol notices, which are not international arrest warrants, have asked authorities from around the world to provisionally detain people pending possible extradition or other legal actions. Interpol has issued them at the request of a member country.
Lebanon's state news agency NNA said on Tuesday that Interpol has also issued a notice for a Portuguese trader who had examined the cargo at Beirut port in 2014, without giving a name or further details about the person.
The Interpol global police coordination agency says it neither confirms or denies red notices that are not publicly available on its website. An Interpol spokesperson said if there was a notice and it was not published online, that meant it is only for law enforcement.
Lebanese officials have faced allegations of negligence, with some port and customs employees detained in connection with the blast, which injured thousands of people and killed hundreds. Families of the victims are still waiting for final conclusion of the investigation.
Lebanon’s public prosecution asked Interpol in October to issue arrest warrants for two people it had identified as a Russian captain and the owner of the Rhosus ship which arrived in Beirut in 2013, according to security and judicial sources.
However, their names did not appear on the public list of Red Notices on Interpol’s website on Wednesday.
Boris Prokoshev, who was the ship's captain at the time, has said the chemicals ended up in Beirut after the ship’s owner asked him to divert to pick up extra cargo, and Lebanese authorities had paid little attention to the nitrate.
“I am shocked,” he replied when Reuters asked him about the report of an Interpol red notice on Tuesday. “I do not understand at all what could be the basis for my arrest.”