Senegal seeks evacuation of tons of substance from Dakar port

Senegal port seeks evacuation of 2,700 tonnes of substance from Dakar port that caused huge Beirut blast but the ministry of environment has not yet approved the request.

Senegal seeks evacuation of tons of substance from Dakar port
Senegalese officials say they have asked for 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate – the chemical which caused a huge explosion in Beirut.

(African Stand) — The port of Senegal’s capital Dakar on Thursday said it had requested the removal of around 2,700 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate stored in its complex – the same volume of the chemical that caused Beirut’s devastating port blast this month.

The unidentified owner of the stockpile has found a warehouse to store the industrial chemical outside the city, according to the general directorate of the port, which sits next to Dakar’s densely populated downtown.

“He is currently working with the environment ministry to obtain approval to urgently remove this cargo,” it said in a statement that did not say how long the port had stored the goods destined for Mali.

The port strictly adheres to international rules for the management and storage of dangerous materials, it said.

Beirut’s port had held 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate for six years without safety measures, before they detonated on August 4, killing more than 150 people, injuring thousands and leaving about a quarter of a million people homeless.

“The dramatic situation that Beirut has just experienced” prompted the High Commander of Dakar’s port to take journalists on a tour of the port’s facilities to show that security measures are up to standard, the statement said.

The Beirut blast should be a wake-up call for countries on the dangers of ammonium nitrate, experts say. Commonly used in fertilisers and as an industrial explosive, it is considered relatively safe if handled properly but has caused some of the world’s deadliest industrial accidents.

Esther Kamara

Written by Esther Kamara

Esther Kamara is a reporter at African Stand, covering the West African region with stories on politics and how it intersects with business, innovation, startups, and culture. She graduated from Kwame Nkrumah University with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.

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