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Lebanon asks Interpol to arrest Russian ship captain, owner over port explosion

Russia’s national Interpol bureau declined to comment.

Grechushkin, 43, was questioned in Cyprus in August. Attempts by Reuters to reach Grechushkin were unsuccessful.

Cyprus police spokesman Christos Andreou said, regarding an Interpol request on Thursday: “We have not received such a request.”

Prokoshev, who is in Russia, said he had not heard anything about it and that he has not been contacted by investigators before.

He has told Reuters that 2,750 tonnes of the chemicals ended up in Beirut after the ship’s owner told him to divert to Beirut to pick up extra cargo in 2013. He has also said Lebanese authorities paid little attention to the ammonium nitrate, which had been stacked in the hull in large sacks.

But it never left, becoming tangled in a legal dispute over unpaid port fees and ship defects.

Beirut port authorities impounded the vessel after it arrived in late 2013 due to outstanding debts, according to a state security report which Reuters revealed in August. In 2014, the ship was deemed unseaworthy and its cargo was unloaded in October and warehoused in what was known as Hangar 12, the epicenter of the explosion.

The ship sank near the port’s breakwater in February 2018, the report said. (Reporting by Ellen Francis and Laila Bassam in Beirut, Michele Kambas in Nicosia, Additional reporting by Maria Vasilyeva and Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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