Authorities start clearing 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate near Chennai

Topics Chennai | Lebanon | Customs

The Customs Department confiscated the entire consignment and had it stored in a Freight Station north of Chennai. Representative Image
Authorities have started clearing some 740 tonnes of Ammonium nitrate stored near Chennai, following pressure to remove the cargo in the the wake of the recent explosion in Lebanon, which claimed over 130 people lives and left over 5,000 injured.

Sources said ten containers left for Hyderabad on Sunday afternoon in the first phase of clearance, after Salvo Explosive and Chemical Pvt Ltd bid for the material. The remaining containers will be cleared over the next few days.

The chemical was lying at a container freight station (CFS) outside the port. The import containers had been confiscated by The Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch (SIB) Customs.

The consignment, which arrived way back in 2015, was seized by the Customs as the company did not have an import licence. While the cargo has been auctioned, delivery is yet to be taken, the officials said. The 37 containers were imported by Amman Chemicals from Korea.

The Customs Department confiscated the entire consignment and had it stored in a Freight Station north of Chennai. 

An employee of the CFS said the ammonium nitrate was safely stored inside the containers and necessary safety precautions had been taken. He confirmed that a portion of the consignment was auctioned off by the Customs.

On Tuesday, a large blast in the Lebanese capital of Beirut killed at least 130 people and injured more than 5,000. Reports have quoted officials blaming highly explosive material stored in a warehouse the past six years for the tragedy. Reports say around 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored unsafely.



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