Charalambos Manoli, the Cypriot shipping entrepreneur, has hired a local communications consultancy to try and clear his name from links to the terrible Beirut port explosion.
Multiple investigations have suggested Manoli was the owner of the Rhosus for its final voyage, carrying a cargo of explosive ammonium nitrate, and the ship’s subsequent abandonment in the Lebanese capital.
Providing relevant ship registration documentation, Manoli claims in a release that he relinquished all interests in the ship in June 2012 as Marshall Islands-registered Teto Shipping run by a Russian national, Igor Grechushkin, took over the decrepit ship. Manoli had acquired the vessel in 2010. Grechushkin, based in Cyprus, was interviewed by local police last month in connection with the explosion.
“I regret to note that, in relation to myself and/or my professional activities and the Rhosus ship, there have been a number of unfounded reports which have created an inaccurate and defamatory image of me and my activities,” Manoli claimed.
An in-depth investigation published last month involving 10 news organisations including Germany’s highly respected Der Spiegel suggested the owner of the ship that led to the deadly explosion in Beirut port on August 4 was Manoli.
The report – coordinated by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (OCCRN) – highlighted the complex way the ailing Rhosus general cargo ship made its final voyage before being stopped in Beirut and subsequently abandoned by its owner.
Manoli’s Panamanian dealings also featured in the Panama Papers, a leak in 2016 of more than 11.5m financial and legal records exposing the offshore dealings of many tycoons from around the world.
Manoli is the CEO and managing director of 2002-founded Limassol-headquartered shipmanager Acheon Akti Navigation having previously been a ship surveyor. His career has also saw him co-found Mansoc Shipping Services in 1995, a company that worked on behalf of many shipping registries including the notorious Cambodian flag. He also was linked as the owner of a Georgian class society, Maritime Lloyd, which certified the Rhosus.
A fire erupted at Beirut port yesterday morning (see below) after some of the rubble from the explosion that occurred last month caught fire, causing concern among locals. The Lebanese army extinguished the fire in a waste landfill area of the port.
Investigations into how the original fire happened are still ongoing.