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Home Port News Geophysical service provider TGS sued for US$250 million over Beirut blast

Geophysical service provider TGS sued for US$250 million over Beirut blast

US-Norwegian geophysical service provider TGS Nopec Geophysical is being sued by the families of the victims who died in the Beirut port explosion in Lebanon in 2020, with the plaintiffs seeking US$250 million in compensation.

The families are represented by Accountability Now, a Swiss foundation backing Lebanese activist efforts, and the suit was filed in the Texas court on 11 July.

The statement of claim alleges that TGS Nopec Geophysical’s subsidiary, Spectrum Geo, chartered the general cargo ship Rhosus, which was supposedly fixed in November 2013 to carry ammonium nitrate from Georgian fertilizer maker Rustavi Azot to Beira, Mozambique. The suit alleges that the ship, at Spectrum Geo’s request, diverted to Beirut to collect seismic equipment, and somehow, the ammonium nitrate was offloaded and stored in Beirut.

However, a subsequent Port State Control inspection found Rhosus unseaworthy and its crew were then repatriated, while the ammonium nitrate was offloaded and stored in Beirut. Rhosus was then abandoned in Beirut, where it remained till it sank on 16 February 2018.

The plaintiffs, all US citizens, allege that improper storage of the ammonium nitrate over six years caused the explosion on 4 August 2020.

At least 218 people died and 7,000 people were injured. Property damage estimated at US$15 billion also occurred as around 300,000 people were left homeless.

The suit asserts that chartering a vessel that is "recklessly unseaworthy and carrying explosives without the necessary permits, is a violation of individual contract terms, local law, and industry best practice, and is ultimately responsible for this horrific explosion."


Martina Li
Asia Correspondent





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