Middle EastPorts and Logistics

Deadly port explosion rocks Beirut

Authorities in Lebanon are busy counting the number of dead and injured after an explosion at Beirut Port that rocked the entire city.

The blast, which happened in the city’s port area yesterday around 6pm, is said to have been caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate being stored in a warehouse for the last six years after a ship had been abandoned in the port in 2013.

There is nothing. Nothing. Every building looks like it has been bombed

Ammonium nitrate was also responsible for the explosion that rocked the port of Tianjin five years ago in what is believed to have been the largest port accident in peace time.

Latest figures suggest more than 100 are dead and more than 300,000 have been made homeless in the wake of the explosion.

“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability,” Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in an address to the nation. “Those responsible will pay the price.”

Mapping from Marine Traffic (below) shows several vessels in port, including CMA CGM’s 11,356 teu boxship CMA CGM Lyra.

It is not yet known if any commercial ships at the port have been affected by the blast, however various reports confirm damage to cruise ship Orient Queen and Bangladesh Navy ship BNS Bijoy.

The port area itself is said to have been totally destroyed. Local journalist Hanna Anbar told Canada’s CBC that the port is basically gone. “There is nothing. Nothing. Every building looks like it has been bombed.”

Messages of support for Lebanon have flowed in from around the world, including US President Donald Trump.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.


  1. Readers with a P&I background will have said to themselves, “Texas City, 1947”.

  2. In Lebanon people must ask why cargo receivers and customs have full power in the port. The harbourmaster never would authorize explosives stored for more than a week!!

  3. Really? 3 replies and none with a single shred of empathy?

    I’m glad that you three aren’t involved in this terrible incident. Live long and criticize.

    Back to the article at hand, there’s definitely some oversight made but there will be a time for witch-hunt. Right now, what those people need are decisive actions take for those injured and fallen, Red Cross is doing a great job there and hope lessons learnt will be implemented to avoid accidents like this.
    Those injured, hope they will recover soon. Those who have lost, hope they will find some closure and take heart in the good memories made.

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