Constanta, Romania (PortSEurope) August 26, 2020 – In the wake of the devastating explosion in Beirut’s port caused by carelessly stored ammonium nitrate, the local PS news portal reported that Romania’s largest Black Sea port of Constanta has almost 26,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in different warehouses. According to Compania Națională Administrația Porturilor Maritime SA Constanța (port’s administration), there are five operators that carry
out the loading, unloading and temporary storage of ammonium nitrate. The chemical is mainly used in the fertilizer production industry and storage takes place under special conditions – protected from fire, in limited quantities depending on the nitrogen concentration and stored separately from incompatible materials (fuels, lubricants and metallic powder). It is also the main component in many types of mining explosives, where it’s mixed with fuel oil and detonated by an explosive charge. As of mid-August, 25,952 tonnes of ammonium nitrate are stored in the port: 4,908 tons are stored in certified warehouses in Schenker (South Constanta) for transit to Hungary; 17,521 tonnes are stored in certified warehouses by Chimpex (in the northern part of the port of Constanta); and 3,523 tons are stored at Midia International (in the Midia area of Constanţa port). From the beginning of the year until now, 87,292 tons of ammonium nitrate have been handled in the port on sea and river vessels, which is the average quantity for the same period in the last five years. All operators who have handled this type of cargo meet the required safety conditions. The last ship with ammonium nitrate was handled on July 17, the ports administration was quoted as saying. The explosion in Beirut port on August 4 killed more than 160 people, injured over 6,000, demolished entire neighbourhoods of the capital and obliterated most of the port. Surprisingly, the container terminal sustained minor damages and, contrary to predictions, was able to receive the first ship on August 10. Constanta’s case is different from the situation in the Ukrainian northwestern Black Sea port of Pivdennyi where some 9,600 tonnes of ammonium nitrate are stored in the open air on a ship and near a storage warehouse, according to local media reports in August. State-owned commercial port operator Pivdennyi (Pivdenny, formerly Yuzhny) in the Odesa region claimed that the ammonium nitrate (which is three times more the volume that obliterated the port of Beirut in Lebanon) in moorings No. 1 and No. 2 poses no risk of explosion. The administration also said that the ammonium nitrate, which is being stored in the port, is packed in large bags in compliance with technical requirements and that transhipment of such dangerous cargo is carried out in accordance with international regulations for the sea transportation of dangerous goods. In recent days, the ammonium nitrate began to be shipped from the port and currently there are about 6,0000 tonnes left. According to the head of the South Port administration, 400-500 tonnes are exported per day and all the stored ammonium nitrate will be removed from the port by the end of August. In 2019, 47,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate passed through the port. So far this year, 14,000 tonnes were handled in Pivdennyi. Beirut port, Lebanon’s busiest, was destroyed after what is believed to be the largest ever explosion of conventional explosives in a warehouse there on August 4. Two blasts at 15:00 GMT on August 4 flattened the harbour front and surrounding buildings. Seismologists measured the event, which blew out windows at the city’s international airport 9 km away, as the equivalent of a 3.3 magnitude earthquake. Last week, international shipping companies CMA CGM of France and Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd resumed services at the port of Beirut. The port was to all intents and purposes inoperable but his initial view has been proved wrong and the Lebanese authorities now claim that 12 of the 16 portals at the port are now operational. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2020.