Chennai: Ten containers with 181 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were moved by Customs officials from the Manali Sattva Container Freight Station to a Hyderabad-based buyer. The transfer was done with 12-point instructions by the Chennai police and Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) officials.
There are 27 more containers filled with 561 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, the chemical that caused the Beirut explosion, which will be moved out within a week.
There are, however, doubts over the actual size of the consignment. While it is 697 tonnes according to a November 12, 2019 Customs document, it is 742 tonnes as per a Madras High Court record.
The Chennai consignment was brought in by a Karura-based company from South Korea in 2015 but without a proper licence. It was stored in Manali Sattva Container Freight Station for five years after the litigation in the matter ended.
Concerns were raised in Chennai after the blast in Beirut on August 5 caused due to 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, due to which the movement of the chemical was necessitated. PMK leader Ramadoss had demanded safe disposal of ammonium nitrate stored at Chennai port. On Twitter, he said that the ammonium nitrate which was seized and stored in the warehouse near the Chennai port should immediately be disposed of by the concerned authorities in a safe manner.