Beirut Explosion: Where else is ammonium nitrate stored?


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Ammonium nitrate manufacturing in France

Following the destruction attributable to ammonium nitrate exploding at Beirut’s port, there are considerations globally about its storage.

The chemical is broadly used world wide, as a fertiliser or for explosives in mining.

However there are strict laws about the place it may be stored and for the way lengthy.

And its location is usually stored secret due to its potential for making bombs.


Practically 740 tonnes have been saved in 37 containers 700m (half a mile) from a residential space about 20km outdoors Chennai, considered one of India’s main cities, for 5 years whereas the authorities within the southern state of Tamil Nadu fought a authorized battle in opposition to an organization that had imported it from South Korea in 2015, claiming it was for agricultural functions.

The consignment was refused customs clearance.

And the investigation revealed the corporate had:

  • acquired the substance beneath an invalid license
  • been promoting it on to “unidentified non-public people” and corporations beforehand concerned in mining

A small quantity was disposed of after being broken by floods in 2015.

And the remaining 697 tonnes have now been auctioned and transported to the neighbouring state of Telangana.

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Beirut’s port after the blast


The lawyer common in war-torn Yemen has ordered an investigation into media experiences alleging greater than 100 containers of ammonium nitrate are being stored on the southern port of Aden.

They are saying the chemical was imported three years in the past and seized by Saudi-led forces backing the UN-recognised authorities.

Aden Governor Tariq Salam stated: “The forces deployed on this port are accountable for storing this harmful cargo, which is estimated to incorporate 4,900 tonnes of ammonium nitrate saved at 130 delivery containers.”

However the authorities’s Yemen Gulf of Aden Ports Company stated the containers have been truly getting used to retailer “natural urea, used as agricultural fertilisers”.

“They’re neither explosive nor radioactive supplies,” it stated.

“And it isn’t banned to handle or retailer them.”


The Iraqi authorities has ordered a direct evaluation of hazardous supplies at ports and airports and located ammonium nitrate had been saved at Baghdad worldwide airport.

“The Army Engineering Directorate of the Iraqi Defence Ministry… safely transported extremely harmful supplies from the air-cargo part at Baghdad airport… to their vacation spot, the warehouses of the Army Engineering Directorate,” a navy official tweeted on 9 August.


Even earlier than the explosion in Beirut, individuals in Newcastle, New South Wales, have been asking for a big stockpile of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse 3km from the town centre to be moved or decreased.

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A consignment of ammonium nitrate seized by Indonesian customs in 2016

However Orica, an organization that provides explosives to the mining trade, stated it was being saved safely in areas that have been “fireplace resistant and constructed completely from non-flammable supplies”.

And South Australia’s office security watchdog, SafeWork SA, stated ammonium nitrate was being saved at 170 closely regulated and monitored websites throughout the area.

UK ports

An investigation has been launched into the storage of ammonium nitrate at a big port in Lincolnshire, Immingham, in addition to at different websites within the Humber area.

Related British Ports (ABP), which runs the websites, stated UK ports needed to observe strict laws and make sure the substance was saved and dealt with safely.

In the meantime, an organization based mostly at Portsmouth’s port, Portico, has withdrawn an software to retailer ammonium nitrate and stated the substance wouldn’t be going via the positioning.

Though the announcement got here shortly after the Beirut blast, the corporate stated it was for enterprise causes solely.

Worldwide Cargo Dealing with Co-ordination Affiliation head Richard Brough stated ammonium nitrate “is regulated as a result of it is a registered harmful substance”.

“By itself, it is a relative secure substance,” he stated.

“However the place it turns into an issue is when it turns into contaminated, for instance with oil.”

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