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Iraqi customs authority to take measures to properly store and transfer hazardous chemicals

Following Beirut port explosion
A ship is connected to the Basra Oil Terminal, 12 nautical miles off the Iraqi coast in the waters of the Northern Arabian Gulf, close to the port town of Umm Qasr August 8, 2006. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
2020-08-06

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SULAIMANI — Following the devastating explosion at Beirut’s port, Iraq’s General Authority of Customs announced on Wednesday (August 5) that it would revisit and strengthen its procedures for the storage and transfer of hazardous chemicals and other dangerous materials.

The authority said in a statement that it had sent instructions to all customs directorates at land, sea, and air entry points ordering them to submit the inventories of the hazardous materials being stored at their facilities and information about their owners, as well as the reasons that pending transfers have not been completed. All unfinished transfers will be expedited.

“The authority affirmed its keenness to continuously follow up on this important file by directing its directorates to work in accordance with the regulations issued by the specified authorities for importing, transporting, and storing hazardous chemical materials,” it said.

A strong blast rattled the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Tuesday. At least 135 people were killed and over 5,000 were wounded. Many other were left homeless by the significant material damage the explosion wreaked on the city.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and bombs, was likely the source of the explosion. It had been stored at a warehouse at the port for six years without proper safety measures.

(NRT Digital Media)