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Russia ship captain 'shocked' by Interpol red notice after Lebanon port blast

An aerial view of the black smoke following a fire that erupted in Beirut Ports Free Zone on September 10, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon [Haytham Al Achkar/Getty Images]
An aerial view of the black smoke following a fire that erupted in Beirut Ports Free Zone on September 10, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon [Haytham Al Achkar/Getty Images]

Boris Prokoshev, the captain of the ship that carried the ammonium nitrate that led to an explosion at Beirut port in August, said he was "shocked" to learn that Interpol had issued a red notice against him in connection with the blast.

"I am shocked and I do not understand at all what could be the basis for my arrest. I would have understood if we had transported the cargo to Lebanon. We were carrying it to Mozambique, and the Lebanese authorities detained us with the cargo because the ship owner did not pay the port's fees, but what does the ship's captain have to do with this matter?" Prokoshev told Reuters on Tuesday, explaining that Lebanese authorities had paid little attention to the nitrate at the time.

Lebanon's state media reported on Tuesday that Interpol had issued red notices for the captain and owner of the ship that carried the ammonium nitrate which exploded in August 2020, killing nearly 200 people and wounding over 6,000 others.

Authorities said the explosion was caused by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in Beirut port, confiscated from the ship, MV Rhosus.

RIA Novosti news agency quoted the Vice President of the Seafarers Union of Russia, Igor Kovalchuk, as saying that Lebanon's request for Interpol to arrest two Russian citizens in connection with the explosion is an effort to show its citizens that it is taking steps to identify the perpetrators.

READ: Lebanon to receive $246m emergency aid from the World Bank

A red notice is a request for law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest the named person in preparation for extradition or legal action.

Though it is commonly seen as the closest thing to an international arrest warrant, an Interpol arrest warrant does not require authorities to arrest the subject.

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