Lebanon's Beirut port destroyed

Huge explosion that has blown out every window for miles.

Thousands buried in the rubble or injured by broken glass…officials state at least 2500 injured and 27 dead to date.

A large quantity of confiscated C4 and stored chemicals the likely cause:
“2700 tons of confiscated amonium nitrate in 2013.”

Terrible. Just the ammonium nitrate is the equivalent of a 1 kiloton nuke.

I hope there was nothing shady involved, Lebanon is on the menu after all.

That’s all we need right now, crap blowing up in the Middle East.

Just never stops, does it?

Pretty terrible, I saw the videos. Reminded of Beirut in the 80s, remember those days?

I thought it was a fireworks factory that was on fire, you can see the firecrackers going off for some time before the one huge explosion.

Why would they store thousands of kilograms of ammonium nitrate inside the a city near civilians? That seems pretty dicey to me.

Before and After:

Well, they done fucked that up good and proper.

Not the first or last time that will happen unfortunately.

They used ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel to take down the Federal building in Oklahoma City.

I was living there at the time, about 10 miles away and it shook the windows at my place. I lived fairly close to the airport at the time and thought something blew up there.

I remember I use to play golf with a guy who was a paramedic and one of the first responders on the scene. I didn’t see him for a couple of months afterwards and when I did, he just had this vacant far away look on his face. He was never the same after that, but then again, neither were most of us.

Store enough of that stuff in one spot without proper care and diligence, and given enough time, this is pretty much inevitable. I have experience working with relatively large quantities of acetylene, and that terrifies me. Two thousand tons plus of ammonium nitrate? Fuck that shit. Amazing more people didn’t die.

Jezus effing Christ, unbelievable.

This was completely avoidable.

They should hang whoever is responsible for leaving it there all these years. But this being a thoroughly corrupt administration, that is probably never going to happen. They’ll find some patsy and blame it all on him.

It seems like a very easy thing to sabotage. As it stands it’s one of a long line of happy accidents that aids “regime” change in a country on the list.

We’ll see if any suspicious maintenance or renovations went on recently.

Before going into the conspiracy theories, having 2700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at a site close to a city is the equivalent of living on top of a undetonated world war II bomb, and not doing anything about it.

Anything – anything – could happen. And now it finally did.

The authorities were notified multiple times.

It’s pure malevolent negligence.

I live in a city within the blast radius of a stockpile of nuclear weapons, so do millions of people. Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer that is traded around the world too, so I’m not going to start pointing fingers at people when we’ve probably got stocks of the stuff in some port warehouse as we speak. Ports tend to be in cities as well.

We’ll see what happens, it doesn’t explode itself. Maybe it was fireworks flying through the walls of the warehouse and detonating it all. Maybe it wasn’t.

The physical and chemical properties are pretty simple.

You store a lot of that shit in one location, anything could happen when there is a little fire.

It goes BIG BOOM.

Texas City, Texas 1947.

Ship being loaded with ammonium nitrate exploded, killed around 600, injured around 3000, the anchor from the ship was found about a mile away. Town burned for 3 days.

Largest non nuclear explosion and worst industrial accident in US history.

We’ve got a much bigger one in Newcastle, 2 hours north of Sydney.
It’s a legit storage facility not a warehouse, but it would destroy Newcastle if ignited.

I’m not sure if they were fireworks Peter, even though it looks like that
I saw a video critiquing them, and they said there was far too much smoke for fireworks, which are designed for minimum smoke…he said it was magnesium flares IIRC.

Apparently ammonium nitrate needs a specific kind of detonation device to explode, not just any old firework.
(Although in the Texas case, it seems to be a long burning fire that reached a critical level)

They were given 5 days to figure out the cause by their Security head.
If it is an attack, apart from the obvious suspects like Israel/US, there’s also Turkey in the mix these days.

Either way heads should roll at the very top for ignoring the risk.

Aerial shot - before/after

Hiroshima 75 years ago was equal to 15 000 tons of TNT
Beirut’s explosion was apparently equal to 3000 tons of TNT

Here’s a leaflet detailing UK regs for storing ammonium nitrate:

The takeaway is that it’s normal to store hundreds or thousands of tonnes and that there are different regs for higher and lower nitrogen content material.

From that article:

Customs officials sent at least five more letters over the next three years - on December 5, 2014, May 6, 2015, May 20, 2016, October 13, 2016, and October 27, 2017 - asking for guidance and warning that the material posed a danger, Badri Daher, the current director of Lebanese Customs, told broadcaster LBCI on Wednesday.

They proposed three options: Export the ammonium nitrate, hand it over to the Lebanese Army, or sell it to the privately-owned Lebanese Explosives Company.

One letter sent in 2016 noted there had been “no reply” from judges to previous requests.

It pleaded: “In view of the serious danger of keeping these goods in the hangar in unsuitable climatic conditions, we reaffirm our request to please request the marine agency to re-export these goods immediately to preserve the safety of the port and those working in it, or to look into agreeing to sell this amount” to the Lebanese Explosives Company.

Again, there was no reply.

A year later, Daher, the new Lebanese Customs director, wrote to a judge once again.

In the October 27, 2017, letter, Daher urged the judge to come to a decision on the matter in view of “the danger … of leaving these goods in the place they are, and to those working there”.

Nearly three years later, the ammonium nitrate was still in the hangar.

It wasn’t in a facility designed specifically to safely store such materials, watched over by a capable and well financed operation.

Richard Silverstein has stated his “highly-informed Israeli source” reveals that Israel did the bombing.