Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

'Ammonium Nitrate' Shipment at Aden Port Creates Controversy

'Ammonium Nitrate' Shipment at Aden Port Creates Controversy

Sunday, 9 August, 2020 - 12:15
Bags containing ammonium nitrate fertilizer (Reuters)

Yemeni media reports sparked widespread controversy after claiming a shipment of ammonium nitrate was stored in Aden port three years ago, twice the amount stored at Beirut port that caused the massive explosion.

Aden port authorities denied the claims, however, Yemen’s Public Prosecutor, Ali al-Awash, ordered a quick probe into reports about tons of ammonium nitrate abandoned in the city’s seaport for several years.

Judicial sources stated that Awash directed Aden’s Chief of the Appeals and a member of the Supreme Judicial Council to investigate the case, given the risks posed to the safety of the port, the city, and its residents.

The sources stated that the Attorney General ordered one of the public prosecutors to go to the port and investigate the issue in accordance with the law.

Yemeni residents expressed their concerns after recent online reports about the shipment, fearing they’d face a fate similar to Beirut, where a shipment of ammonium nitrate exploded killing over 100 and injuring thousands.

Meanwhile, the Yemen Ports Authority denied the existence of any shipment containing ammonium nitrate in the ports, according to a statement carried by Saba News Agency.

The authority's media department described the allegations of 140 containers loaded with ammonium nitrate in the port as fake news and falsifications of facts.

Under rules and laws regulating Aden port's facilities, it is prohibited to handle or store any shipments of explosives, flammables, and radioactive materials, added the statement.

The statement admitted there are old cargoes in the container terminal, but they contain 46 percent organic urea which is used as agricultural fertilizers, and are not explosive nor radioactive materials.

It asserted that storing or transporting such materials is not illegal or banned, urging everybody to seek accuracy before publicizing information, and avoid spreading panic among civilians.

On Friday, Yemeni lawmakers demanded an immediate investigation into allegations of stranded containers of ammonium nitrate.

MP Ali Ashal sent a letter to the government requesting clarifications about the presence of 130 40-foot containers of ammonium nitrate abandoned in Aden seaport, and the reasons for importing them.

Editor Picks