Interpol Red Notices Issued to Ship Captain and Owner for Beirut Blast

BEIRUT, (Reuters) – Interpol issued red notices for the captain and owner of the ship carrying the chemicals that devastated Beirut in an explosion in August, killing 200 people, Lebanese state media said. Five months after one of the largest non-nuclear explosions on record, big questions remain about the ammonium nitrate that it detonated after being stored in the port for years. The Interpol notices, which are not international arrest warrants, ask authorities around the world to provisionally detain people pending possible extradition or other legal action. Interpol issues them at the request of a member country. The state news agency NNA said Tuesday that Interpol also issued an advisory for a Portuguese merchant who examined cargo at the Beirut port in 2014, without giving a name or further details. Interpol’s global policing agency says it does not confirm or deny red notices that are not publicly available on its website. An Interpol spokesperson said that if there was an ad and it wasn’t posted online, that meant it was only for law enforcement. Lebanese officials have faced allegations of negligence, with some port and customs employees arrested in connection with the explosion, which injured thousands of people. The families of the victims are still awaiting the results of the investigation. The Lebanese prosecution asked Interpol in October to issue arrest warrants for two people it had identified as the Russian captain and owner of the Rhosus ship that arrived in Beirut in 2013, security and judicial sources said. Their names did not appear on the public Red Notices list on Interpol’s website on Wednesday. Boris Prokoshev, the captain at the time, has said the chemicals ended up in Beirut after the ship’s owner told him to divert to pick up additional cargo, and that the Lebanese authorities had paid little attention to the nitrate. “I am shocked,” he told Reuters when asked about the Interpol red flag report on Tuesday. “I do not understand at all what the basis of my arrest could be.”

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