BEIRUT (Al Jazeera) – Interpol has issued three international arrest notices for the owner and captain of a ship that brought 2,750 tons of explosive material into Beirut’s port seven years before it exploded in the deadly August 2020 blast.
A judicial source told Al Jazeera on Tuesday Public Prosecutor Ghassan Khoury received a letter informing him the so-called "red notices” had been issued, based on the request of Lebanon’s judiciary.
Those named are Igor Grechushkin, a Russian businessman and apparent owner of the MV Rhosus that brought the ammonium nitrate into Beirut in late 2013, as well as the ship’s captain at the time, Borys Prokoshew, who is also Russian.
A notice was also issued for Portuguese national Jorge Moreira, who allegedly bought the explosive material from Georgian factory Rustavi Azot.
Moreira in 2014 visited the port warehouse where the material was stored, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported.
Red notices are non-binding requests circulated to law enforcement agencies worldwide to find and provisionally arrest people, often pending extradition. They are not the same as international arrest warrants.
After the explosive cargo entered Beirut’s port in 2013, Lebanese political, security and judicial officials failed to remove it from a hangar in the port for six years despite repeated warnings.
Over time, the hangar was used to store other flammable and explosive materials. It ignited on August 4, unleashing an enormous explosion that killed 200 people, injured more than 6,000 and destroyed large parts of the city.
Sources close to the investigation told Al Jazeera investigators they believe Grechushkin and Prokoshew are in Russia, while Moreira’s whereabouts are unknown.