Beirut explosion: owner of cruise ship sunk in blast files lawsuit

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Two crew members of the Orient Queen were killed and seven others wounded

AFP

Aug 8, 2020

August 8, 2020

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The Lebanese owner of a cruise ship that was sunk by the huge explosion that destroyed the port of Beirut is filing a lawsuit, the National News Agency said on Friday.

Two crew members of the Orient Queen were killed and seven others wounded on Tuesday when a huge shipment of ammonium nitrate caught fire and caused an explosion that levelled the port and gutted entire swathes of the city.

"Entrepreneur Merhi Abou Merhi, the owner of the Orient Queen cruise ship, has filed a lawsuit against all those responsible for this catastrophic blast," the agency said.

The state agency said the suit was the first of its kind and could pave the way for similar legal action in the coming days and weeks.

The large cruise ship, which can accommodate at least 300 guests and houses a casino, was docked in its home port when disaster struck.

At the time of the blast, no travellers were on board because summer cruising operations had been cancelled due to the coroanivurs pandemic.

The five-star cruise liner typically sails from Beirut Port to five destinations in Europe and Asia during summer.

Had normal operations been in place, it’s likely that the cruise liner would have been at sea at the time of the explosion.

Extensive damage was also reported at the head office of Abou Merhi Cruises, in the Awwal Bliss area of Beirut.

The provisional death toll for the explosion is 154 but the figure is expected to rise since dozens of people are still reported missing and large numbers of injured are still hospitalised in critical condition.

Greek rescue workers search amid the rubble three days after explosions that hit Beirut port. EPA

Workers and members of Lebanese civil defense search for bodies and survivors amid the rubble. EPA

Divers inspect at the port waterfront. EPA

A Lebanese soldier looks at a damaged car. EPA

Workers and members of Lebanese civil defence rest next to a damaged vessel. EPA

An electricity worker fixes power cables in front of a damaged building. AP Photo

A man sits between debris inside his house damaged by Tuesday's explosion in the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon. AP Photo

A man who sustained injuries to his legs looks at the rubble. AP Photo

Workers remove debris from a house. AP Photo

Zeinab Zer Eldin, left, and her sister-in-law shows a photo of her missing husband near the site of the explosion in the port of Beirut. AP Photo

Residents fix windows in a house damaged by Tuesday's explosion that hit the port of Beirut. AP Photo

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Updated: August 8, 2020 03:07 PM

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