| 5 December 2023, Tuesday |

German ship carrying hazardous chemicals to leave Beirut on Tuesday

A ship loaded with dozens of containers full of hazardous materials from Beirut port is ready to sail for Germany.

German company Combi Lift was given the job of removing dangerous substances from the port after the August 4 explosion last year that killed more than 200 people and damaged large parts of the Lebanese capital.

The last of 59 containers was lifted on to the ship on Friday.

Heiko Felderhoff, chief executive of Combi Lift, said they would be disposed of in Germany. Combi Lift told The National that they expect the ship to sail for Germany on Tuesday.

Elias Assouad, the head of the Lebanese-German Business Council, said the project had cleared the port of “all toxic, cancerous, flammable and highly reactive chemicals that have been stored here for decades”.

The German company had been expected “to deal with only 49 containers of hazardous material,” he said.

But they ended up “handling more than 75, of which 59 will be shipped”. He said 15 others would be “disposed of within safe and environmentally sound procedures in situ”, without providing more details.

A chemicals expert managing the operation told AFP after finishing the job in February that Beirut only avoided a second chemical inferno by chance.

Michael Wentler said he had “never seen a situation like this before”, describing festering chemical mixtures so corrosive they burnt gaping holes through shipping containers.

Hydrochloric acid, a corrosive and toxic substance, made up 60 per cent of the chemicals Combi Lift came across, he said.

  • The National News