Lebanon: International Arrest Warrants for Owner and Captain of Ship Accused of Bomb Blast Requested
Lebanese judicial authorities have requested international arrest warrants for the owner and captain of the Moldovan-registered ship accused of being responsible for the bomb blast in Beirut on 4 August. The ship contained a shipment of ammonium nitrate. It is alleged to be the Rhosus which set sail from Georgia and was heading for Mozambique but was stopped in Beirut Port in 2013. It was facing technical problems and security officials said it was impounded after a Lebanese company filed a lawsuit against its owner. Its cargo was moved from the ship to a warehouse which allegedly had structural defects. The blast killed over 190 people, injured thousands and damaged large parts of the city. Cypriot police questioned the ship’s owner in August but an investigation by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project found the real captain was a Cypriot shipping magnate but this was denied. The names of the accused have been passed on to the public prosecution and they have referred them to Interpol and asked them to issue an international warrant for their arrests. So far arrested 25 people have been arrested as part of the Lebanese investigation, including top port and customs officials.