Govt seeks explosives data as Beirut blast raises alarm

Thursday, 13 August 2020

The government has asked for data on import and storage of explosives in Bangladesh as the devastating port blast that killed more than 200 people in the Lebanese capital has raised alarm in Dhaka.

Ammonium nitrate, the chemical that caused the massive Beirut blast, cannot be stored in the ports in any ways, the Department of Explosives has warned.

The department also asked the ports, local administrations and customs offices to prevent the importers from storing explosives in open places or unauthorised warehouses, said Md Monjurul Hafiz, the chief inspector of explosives.

“It’s our routine work, but the Beirut incident obviously has raised an alarm. There will be no excuses if an accident occurs,” he told bdnews24.com on Thursday.

He noted that no explosives are allowed to be stored in the ports. These must be moved to the authorised warehouses straight from the port, he said.

Bangladesh imports some ammonium nitrate for medical and mining purposes.

Hafiz said the department sent notices to Spectra Group, Islam Oxygen, Bangladesh Industrial Gas Limited, the coal mines and the stone quarries asking them for data on the ammonium nitrate they have.

He hopes they would send the data soon.