A ship in the harbor of Texas City, Texas, … Images of America-West-Texas City Explosion-1947-Ammonium Nitrate-PHOTOS-X-RARE! The blast set off a chain of fires as well as a 15-foot (4.5-metre) tidal wave. It was carrying 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, an industrial chemical commonly used around the world as a fertilizer — and in explosives for mining. Daher confirmed to CNN earlier on Wednesday that his office sent “a total of six letters to the legal authorities” but that the authorities never responded to any of their letters. They would eventually abandon the ship. We knew that they were dangerous materials, but not to that extent.”, Kraytem too said that the issue of removing the explosive material had been brought up by State Security and Customs — but that the issue had not been “resolved.”. By the time the town's volunteer firefighters arrived, a cloud of dense and colorful smoke had attracted bystanders. Texas City explosion of 1947 In April of 1947, an ammonium nitrate explosion in Texas City killed 581 people and injured thousands more. But public court documents CNN obtained through the prominent Lebanese human rights activist, Wadih Al-Asmar, reveal that Daher and his predecessor, Merhi, turned to Beirut’s courts to help dispose of the dangerous goods multiple times from 2014 onwards. On April 17, 2013, ten emergency first responders (ranging in age from 26 to 52 and all male) were killed when a burning fertilizer plant containing an estimated 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded just outside the city limits. McVeigh parked a yellow Ryder rental truck filled with 5,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate outside the nine-story building downtown and got into a getaway car. Ammonium nitrate is being cited as the source of the blast, just like in two massive Texas explosions. 5 min read Columns of black smoke rise from the Monsanto Chemical Company after a cargo ship loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded at the nearby harbor of Texas City, Texas, on April 16, 1947. Fifteen people were killed, more than 160 were injured, and more than 150 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Nichols is serving a life sentence. In 2013, the MV Rhosus set off from Batumi, Georgia, destined for Mozambique, according to the vessel’s path and the account of its captain Boris Prokoshev. More than 100 people were killed and thousands more injured in the massive blast. You can learn more about the Oklahoma City bombing here. “Due to the extreme danger posed by this stored items in unsuitable climate conditions, we reiterate our request to the Port Authorities to re-export the goods immediately to maintain the safety of the port and those working in it,” Daher’s predecessor, Chafic Merhi, wrote in a 2016 letter addressed to a judge involved in the case. “In our memos 19320/2014 dated 5/12/2014 and 5/6/2015 […] we requested that your honor order the responsible Port Authorities to re-export Ammonium Nitrate that was taken off the Rhosus ship and placed in Customs hangar number 12 in Beirut port,” Daher wrote in 2017. Fifteen people were killed in that explosion. Perhaps the closest comparison to Beirut’s explosion, in terms of scale, is a blast in Texas City in 1947, which was caused by 2,300 US tons (about 2,087 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate. The explosion in Beirut Tuesday killed more than 100 people. “The chemicals were originally going to Mozambique, not Lebanon.”, On Wednesday, the Director General of Beirut Port Hassan Kraytem told local television channel OTV: “We stored the material in warehouse number 12 at Beirut port in accordance with a court order. On Wednesday, Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad Najd said there are papers and documents dating back to 2014 proving the existence of an exchange of information about the “material” confiscated by Lebanese authorities. It led to a 15-foot wave that crashed over the dock and flooded surrounding streets. The blast leveled nearly 1,000 buildings on land. “I wrote to Putin everyday… Eventually we had to sell the fuel and use the money to hire a lawyer because there was not help, the owner did not even provide us with food or water,” Prokoshev said in a radio interview with Echo Moscow on Wednesday. Ammonium nitrate was also the cause of the massive explosion that killed more than 500 people in Texas City in 1947, and 15 people in an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas … CNN made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Grechushkin on a Cyprus telephone number. 8 1/2 x 11. Fireballs shot into the sky that were visible across Galveston Bay. At points, he even offered to sell the dangerous cargo to the Lebanese army, according to the court documents, but to no avail. That’s when the ship’s owner told the Russian and Ukrainian sailors that he had run out of money and they would have to pick up additional cargo to cover the travel costs — which led them on a detour to Beirut. Between 400 and 600 people were killed, with as many as 4,000 injured. A Pictorial History of Texas City Explosion 1947. Another 260 people were injured and hundreds of homes damaged. Perhaps the closest comparison to Beirut's explosion, in terms of scale, is a blast in Texas City in 1947, which was caused by 2,300 US tons (about 2,087 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate. “Customs and State Security sent letters [to the authorities] asking to remove or re-export the explosive materials six years ago, and we have been waiting since then for this issue to be resolved, but to no avail,” Kraytem said. By Meghan Housewright With the horrific explosion in Beirut, Lebanonon August 4, it is an apt time to revisit the U.S. Chemical Safety Board's (CSB) reporton the 2013 ammonium nitrate (AN) detonation that devastated West, Texas, killing 15 people, and injuring 260 others. With the horrific explosion in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, it is an apt time to revisit the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s (CSB) report on the 2013 ammonium nitrate (AN) detonation that devastated West, Texas, killing 15 people, and injuring 260 others. The CNN Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report. He added that the substance had been stored for six years at the port warehouse without safety measures, “endangering the safety of citizens.”, Destroyed buildings are visible a day after a massive explosion occurred at the port on Aug. 5, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Here's a look back at the Texas City explosion. The more ammonium nitrate, or … The explosion occurred less than 20 minutes after the emergency responders arrived on-scene. The idea that such a quantity would have been left unattended for six years beggars belief and was an accident waiting to happen.”. The more recent Texas explosion of ammonium nitrate was in West, Texas in April of 2013. (© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by City of Texas City. Once it arrived, the ship never left Beirut’s port, according Lebanon’s Director of Customs, Badri Daher, despite repeated warnings by him and others that the cargo was the equivalent of “a floating bomb.”. “Poorly stored ammonium nitrate is notorious for explosions — for example in Oppau, Germany; in Galveston Bay, Texas; and more recently in West, Texas; and Tianjin in China,” Andrea Sella, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at University College London, told the Science Media Centre. Ammonium nitrate has been implicated in deadly industrial explosions in the past, and is known to require careful handling. As the investigation in Lebanon continues, officials have pointed to a possible cause: A massive shipment of fertilizer that authorities say was stored in the port of Beirut without safety precautions for years — despite warnings by local officials. The devastation surrounding the port resembled other ammonium nitrate explosions, such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and a 1947 ship explosion that struck Texas City, Texas. Ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilizers and bomb making, is a salt made from ammonium and nitric acid, and it is highly explosive. It's used to make explosive, matches, fertilizers and antibiotics. “The Port Authority should not have allowed the ship to offload the chemicals into the port,” he said. Trump demands Congress send bill with $2,000 stimulus checks; Pelosi concurs, You can read more about the West, Texas explosion here, Here's a look back at the Texas City explosion, You can learn more about the Oklahoma City bombing here, Negligence under investigation in Beirut explosion amid public anger, Experts suggest fireworks, ammonium nitrate likely fueled Beirut explosion, Lebanese community in Houston shaken after deadly blast rocks Beirut. Twelve first responders were among those killed. On May 11, 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explo… “According to our information, the Russian crew was later repatriated to their homeland… the salaries were not paid,” the union told CNN. Two of those explosions happened in Texas, including one here in the Houston area. The explosion killed 168 people, including several children. "Poorly stored ammonium nitrate is notorious for explosions -- for example in Oppau, Germany; in Galveston Bay, Texas; and more recently at West in … McVeigh was executed in 2001. Maintenance was conducted on the warehouse door just hours before the blast on Tuesday, he added. ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. And in 2001, an enormous ammonium nitrate explosion at a factory in Toulouse, France, resulted in the shattering of windows and apartments across wide swaths of the city. The scale of the damage — from the epicenter of the explosion at the port of Beirut to the windows blown out miles away — resembles other blasts involving ammonium nitrate, which is commonly used as an agricultural fertilizer. It also is unclear what conditions a possible shipment of fireworks at the port had been stored in. 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At 9:12 a.m., the ammonium nitrate reached an explosive threshold from the combination of heat and pressure. Investigators confirmed that ammonium nitrate was the material that exploded. Lebanese authorities have not named the MV Rhosus as the source of the substance that ultimately exploded in Beirut on Tuesday, but Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the devastating blast was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. The Grandcamp explosion destroyed the Monsanto Chemical Companyplant and resulted in ignition of refineries and chemical tan… A giant explosion occurs during the loading of fertilizer onto the freighter Grandcamp at a pier in Texas City, Texas, on April 16, 1947. Once in Beirut, the MV Rhosus was detained by local port authorities due to “gross violations in operating a vessel,” unpaid fees to the port, and complaints filed by the Russian and Ukrainian crew , according to the Seafarers’ Union of Russia (affiliated with the International Transport Workers’ Federation, or ITF), which represented the Russian sailors, told CNN. The devastation surrounding the port resembled other ammonium nitrate explosions, such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and a 1947 ship explosion that struck Texas City, Texas. Previous disasters linked to the chemical have led to improved regulations for its safe storage, Associate Professor Stewart Walker, from the school of Forensic, Environmental and Analytical Chemistry at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, told CNN said; such rules mean it tends to be kept away from population centers. TEXAS CITY, Texas – Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut, Lebanon released incredible amounts of energy and resulted in unthinkable damage. Instead the catastrophe in Texas City was caused by the same material that apparently triggered a massive explosion in Beirut earlier this week: ammonium nitrate … The tremendous blast produced a 15-foot (4.5 m) wave that was detectable nearly 100 miles (160 km) from the Texas shoreline. An explosion of ammonium nitrate was responsible for the worst industrial accident in US history in 1947. ammonium nitrate explosion texas 1947: west texas ammonium nitrate explosion: texas city ammonium nitrate explosion: beirut ammonium nitrate explosion: ammonium nitrate explosion in texas: ammonium nitrate explosion in arkansas: galveston ammonium nitrate explosion: ammonium nitrate explosion equation Tuesday’s massive explosion, which rocked the capital, left at least 135 dead and 5,000 injured. In 2014, Mikhail Voytenko, who runs an online publication tracking maritime activity, described the ship as a “floating bomb.”. That report, published in 2016, identified the regulatory gaps and system weaknesses that had allowed a major hazard to go … It was then kept in that hangar for six years, despite repeated warnings from the Director of Lebanese Customs, Badri Daher, of the “extreme danger” that the cargo posed. Trump commutes remaining prison term of former Texas GOP congressman Steve Stockman, 4 NW Houston family members rushed to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning, Houston Forecast: Expecting A Rainy Wednesday, Houston Forecast: Rainy Wednesday, Then Colder Christmas Eve, 3 things to know about Katy Taylor football team, Rush block: Texans search for a head coach heat up. The Moldovan-flagged ship stopped in Greece to refuel. You can read more about the West, Texas explosion here. On the morning of April 16, the French-owned Grandcamp was preparing to finish loading a consignment of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at … The vessel detonated, causing great destruction and damage throughout the port. (credit: Daniel Carde/Getty Images). Then, the ammonium nitrate cargo detonated in a blast so powerful it shook the ground for hundreds of miles and registered as an earthquake in Denver. Explosions in Texas City, West, Texas and Oklahoma City were caused by ammonium nitrate -- the same product believed to have blown up in Beirut Tuesday. Skip Navigation According to the New Jersey Department of Health, ammonium nitrate is an odorless, colorless white to gray crystalline flake, bead or granule. The sailors had been on the ship for 11 months with few supplies, according to Prokoshev. In April of 1947, an ammonium nitrate explosion in Texas City killed 581 people and injured thousands more. HOUSTON — Tuesday’s deadly explosion in Beirut is being blamed on fireworks and ammonium nitrate. “This is a catastrophic regulatory failure because regulations on the storage of ammonium nitrate are typically very clear. Documents newly reviewed by CNN reveal that a shipment of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut on a Russian-owned vessel in 2013. “Both of these things will be questioned in the investigation into the Beirut explosion, because they had such a large amount of ammonium nitrate, which may not have been stored appropriately, and in an area where there is a large number of people,” he added. According to emails exchanged by Prokoshev and a Beirut-based lawyer Charbel Dagher, who represented the crew in Lebanon, the ammonium nitrate was unloaded in Beirut’s port by November 2014 and stored in a hangar. That explosion was the result of an arson fire at the West Fertilizer Company. Nearly seven years after a blast in Texas killed 15 people and injured 260, oversight of ammonium nitrate remains a patchwork and public information is … Longshoremen had spent five days loading sacks of ammonium nitrate onto a ship. What are the best last-minute options for Christmas shopping? “At the time, on board of the dry cargo ship there were particularly dangerous goods — ammonium nitrate, which the port authorities of Beirut did not allow to unload or transfer to another ship,” it added. Through a new or existing program and in conjunction with training partners, create and implement a competitive funding mechanism to provide training to regional, state, and local career and volunteer fire departments on how to respond to fire and explosion incidents at facilities that store fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN). In 2013, ammonium nitrate caused a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. The ship, named the MV Rhosus, was destined for Mozambique — but stopped in Beirut due to financial difficulties that also created unrest with the ship’s Russian and Ukrainian crew. The resulting fire caused an explosion and additional fires that damaged more than 1,000 buildings and killed more than 500 people, according to the website of the Texas Historical Association. The vessel was owned by a company called Teto Shipping which members of the crew said was owned by Igor Grechushkin, a Khabarovsk businessman who resided in Cyprus. TEXAS, USA — The investigation is just beginning after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. The most notorious confirmed ammonium nitrate explosion prior to Tuesday was the 1947 Texas City Disaster. Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings. Perhaps the closest comparison to Beirut’s explosion, in terms of scale, is a blast in Texas City in 1947, which was caused by 2,300 US tons (about 2,087 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate. On April 17, 2013, an ammonium nitrate explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility in West, Texas, eighteen miles (29 km) north of Waco, while emergency services personnel were responding to a fire at the facility. She told Jordan’s state-owned channel Al Mamlaka that the exchange is being considered in relation to the potential cause of the deadly Beirut blast. Asked in a telephone interview if there are any early findings in the investigations related to the cause of the explosion, she said, “There are no preliminary results or clarification.”. ), By viewing our video content, you are accepting the terms of our. “We were asked to fix a door of the warehouse by State Security and we did that at noon, but what occurred in the afternoon I have no idea,” he said. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were both convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing. 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