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Chennai Customs Officials Hunker Down to Secure Seized Ammonium Nitrate After Beirut Blast

Civilians carry a victim at the scene of an explosion that hit the seaport, in Beirut Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Massive explosions rocked downtown Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings and blowing out windows and doors as a giant mushroom cloud rose above the capital.   (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Civilians carry a victim at the scene of an explosion that hit the seaport, in Beirut Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Massive explosions rocked downtown Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings and blowing out windows and doors as a giant mushroom cloud rose above the capital. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

According to sources, the Petroleum, Explosives, Safety Organisation (PESO) has been roped in safety checks as well.

Following the massive explosion in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Tuesday which killed more than 100 and injured over 4,000 residents, Chennai's customs authorities have begun safety checks on seized ammonium nitrate near North Chennai.

According to sources, the Petroleum, Explosives, Safety Organisation (PESO) has been roped in safety checks as well. A particular consignment of 740 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate stored 37 containers in North Chennai, seized from a company based in western Tamil Nadu in 2015 over licensing violation, is the object of focus for Customs officials.

An import consignment of the Karur-based Amman Chemicals was seized at the Chennai Port after its application for a key licence was rejected. It was seized in November 2015 and the company was later engaged in a legal battle to continue its business.

As officials informed, the devastation at Beirut port was due to inadequately secured ammonium nitrate. However, following the accident, the Tamil Nadu government was pressured to check the 740-ton consignment of the same highly inflammable chemical which was stored in North Chennai.

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