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Same tonnage of chemicals that exploded in Beirut found in Dakar, Senegal

August 21, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Damaged ships are seen in the Beirut port following an explosion that killed over 200 people in Lebanon, 18 August 2020 [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]

Approximately 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, the same chemical that caused the 4 August Beirut blast, has been discovered in the port of Dakar in Senegal, Agence France Presse reports.

Local authorities said 3,050 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had arrived in Dakar’s port, which sits next to the densely populated city, and was en route to Mali.

According to a statement by the port’s authorities, approximately 350 tonnes of the highly explosive chemical has already been transported to Mali.

However, the deliveries stopped after the landlocked state’s borders were shuttered in the wake of a military-led coup on Tuesday.

The unidentified owner of the substance has since been asked to re-export the chemical from Dakar’s port over fears the chemical could, if set alight, cause similar devastation as in Beirut.

According to AFP, the ammonium nitrate owner offered to store the chemical outside Dakar, but the offer was rejected by the Senegalese environment ministry, which said the substance had to be removed from the country.

READ: Lebanon mourns firefighters who perished in Beirut blast

Earlier this week, the Senegalese government announced plans to monitor and secure the storage of dangerous chemicals in the country, to avoid a disaster like the Beirut blast.

On 4 August, 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which had been stored unsafely in Beirut’s port for at least six years, ignited and exploded.

The blast killed nearly 200, injured thousands more and caused widespread material damage as far as 15 miles from the site of the explosion.

Lebanon will rise up from its ashes - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Lebanon will rise up from its ashes – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Over fears the disaster could be replicated elsewhere, governments across the world have ordered checks on the storage of dangerous chemicals in ports located close to cities.

To date, reports have surfaced alleging nearly 5,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate is stored in Yemen’s Port of Aden, though the government and port authority have denied the claims.

In the wake of the Beirut disaster, the Iraqi government ordered a review of dangerous chemical stores across the country. During the review, a store of ammonium nitrate was discovered at Baghdad International Airport. The government later said it had safely removed the substance from the capital’s transport hub.

Meanwhile, Australia, India and the UK have all admitted to having ammonium nitrate stores.

READ: Liverpool’s Mané donates $50,000 to help Senegal fight coronavirus