Romanian authorities have found tens of thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored illegally and unsafely in websites and storage units throughout the nation.
They captured 8.500 tonnes of this compound, three times larger compared to 2,750 tonnes that triggered the catastrophic explosion in Beirut on August 4. The explosion in the capital killed over 170 and wounded tens of thousands.
In a statement, Romania’s police force said that it completed 51 tests over 3 times and several criminal inquiries were introduced into businesses suspected of neglect and mismanaging hazardous substances.
From the Black Sea port of Agigea, officials found that one warehouse holding 5,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, whereas from the Danube port towns of Brăila and Galaţi 30 and 35 tonnes respectively were discovered kept outside and in dangerous conditions.
In another case, police discovered 368 tonnes being retained on a farm from direct sunshine.
Romania: A Significant importer of ammonium nitrate
That’s ten times the quantity that resulted in the explosion in Beirut.
The authority added the harmful substance has been retained in accredited warehouses especially designated for this function. It added that the operators shipping and handling the ammonium nitrate follow a protocol accepted by Romania’s General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, a public specialized in fire safety, civil defense, and crisis scenarios.
Romania is an important importer of ammonium nitrate, and that when blended with different compounds may be applied as fertilizer in agriculture. The chemical compound needs to be kept under rigorous requirements, in limited amounts, under cool temperatures and away from direct sunlight.
Back in 2004, a truck packed with the compound caught fire and exploded at Mihăilești, Buzău County, Romania, killing 18 and injuring 13.