740 tons of ammonium nitrate not at Chennai Port: Officials

Chennai, August 6, 2020

Refuting some news reports about 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate being stored at Chennai Port, an official said the consignment had been shifted out a long time back.

"There is no storage of 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate at the Chennai Port. It was shifted out long back," a port official told IANS.

It may be recalled that 2,700 tonnes ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut port in Lebanon exploded on Tuesday killing 135 persons and injuring thousands.

It was learnt that the ammonium nitrate consignment of 740 tonnes in 37 containers was imported by Amman Chemicals in 2018 as fertiliser. The consignment was imported from Korea.

However, as the importer did not have the necessary licence, the Customs Department confiscated the entire consignment and had it stored in Sattva Container Freight Station, Manali here.

An employee of Sattva Container Freight Station told IANS that the ammonium nitrate was stored inside the containers and necessary safety precautions have been taken.

It is said a portion of the consignment was auctioned off by the Customs.

Meanwhile, PMK Founder S. Ramadoss in a tweet pointing out the Beirut explosions said the ammonium nitrate should be taken out safely and used for fertiliser production.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has directed the Customs and field formations to verify and confirm within 48 hours whether hazardous and explosive material lying in the warehouses and ports across the country meet the safety and fire standards and present no danger to life and property.

CBIC said in a tweet on Thursday said: "This precautionary step has been taken in view of the recent incident of an explosion in a foreign country caused by such material."

According to Lebanese officials the blast occurred due to a large quantity of poorly stored ammonium nitrate.

At least 137 people were killed and 5,000 wounded in two massive explosions that shook Beirut on Tuesday, according to Lebanon's health minister.


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