Middle EastPorts and Logistics

Portuguese citizen arrested in ongoing investigation into the Beirut port explosion

Jorge Moreira, a 43-year-old Portuguese man, was arrested by Spanish authorities on Thursday in connection with the enormous explosion that destroyed Beirut port two years ago. The man is wanted by Lebanon “for an offence of terrorism and use of explosives resulting in death, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment”, according to Spanish prosecutors.

Spanish authorities announced on Thursday the arrest and provisional release of a Portuguese man wanted by Interpol in connection with the explosion which killed more than 200 people in August 2020 in the port of Beirut.

Moreira was first arrested in Chile when he arrived at Santiago airport on a flight from Spain, before being immediately sent back to Madrid, in coordination with Interpol. He is suspected of having introduced “explosive elements” into Lebanon, in connection with the August 2020 explosion, according to Christian Saez, head of the Santiago airport police.

Moreira previously worked for the Mozambique Explosives Factory, placing an order for ammonium nitrate which was to be transported from Georgia to Mozambique, but which ended up being stored in the port of Beirut.

The 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate arrived at the port of Beirut in November 2013 on a ship flying the Moldovan flag called the Rhosus. Port authorities stored the explosive cargo in a dilapidated warehouse with cracked walls, while the abandoned Rhosus eventually sank in the port in 2018.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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