TASS, August 5. A vessel that was abandoned by the shipowner with Russian citizens onboard is in Beirut port where a massive explosion went off yesterday, inspector of the International Transport Federation (ITF) in Novorossiysk Olga Ananyina told TASS Wednesday. According to the crew representative, the ship was slightly damaged, while the sailors were evacuated.
"Near [the port of Beirut], there is an abandoned vessel, there are Russians aboard. [The ship is] Captain Nagdaliyev, Palmali company [Turkish shipowner group - TASS]. [They are] also abandoned without salaries or food," she said.
The ship’s second mate informed that the crew is well after the blast that ripped off a door on the vessel. "The steamboat was damaged a little, hawsers were torn, inside as well… My door was ripped off completely. Everything’s fine, we are alive and well," he noted.
According to him, all crewmembers left the ship and are now at the pier. "We were all ejected from the steamboat, from all of the ships here actually. They contacted everyone, asking to leave vessels, we are waiting at the pier now. Everything’s still burning here," he noted.
A powerful blast rocked the Beirut seaport area near the Lebanese Navy’s base on August 4, sending a shockwave through residential neighborhoods of the Lebanese capital. The shockwave destroyed and damaged dozens of buildings and cars. Local authorities say the blast was caused by the detonation of 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, stored in the port after being confiscated by the customs services in 2014.
According to the latest updates, more than 100 people were killed and nearly 4,000 others were injured. Since Wednesday, a two-week state of emergency is in place in the Lebanese capital, which was declared a disaster-stricken city. The authorities declared Wednesday a national day of mourning.