CHENNAI: Customs have moved 10 containers with 181 tonnes of ammonium nitrate from the Manali Sattva Container Freight Station (CFS) on Sunday evening to a Hyderabad-based buyer, official sources said.
The remaining consignment has 27 containers filled with 561 tonnes of the chemical, which will be moved out within a week, sources said.
However, a Customs document dated November 13, 2019, shows the total weight of the consignment seized in 2015 to be only 697 tonnes, while a record in the Madras high court shows the consignment weighed 742 tonnes.
The consignment in Chennai was brought in by a Karurbased company without proper licence from South Korea in 2015. Litigation ended last year and the chemical was stored in a Manali CFS for five years.
The movement on Sunday was supervised by officials from Chennai police and Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), which had given a checklist of 12 instructions on how the consignment should be moved to Hyderabad.
A few of the instructions being: 1) Each vehicle transporting the chemical should be provided with two extinguishers of 5kg each of dry chemical powder. Two bodyguards should also be part of the truck. 2) No smoking or fire or any artificial light or any other substance capable of creating fire should be allowed on the vehicle. 3) The vehicle should be taken away from any habitation of any godown or storage shed containing articles of flammable nature or other hazardous goods. 4) The driver shouldn’t stop the vehicle for long periods on roadsides and should avoid places where public safety may be in danger.
The movement of the ammonium nitrate was necessitated due to heightened safety concerns in light of the blast at Beirut, Lebanon, where ammonium nitrate was the cause for huge destruction in a blast.