Beirut is a Mediterranean cruise port and Lebanon's main seaport, capital and largest city with population over 1 million (metro around 2,2 million). Beirut is one of the world's oldest cities, settled 5000+ years ago. Port Beirut was completely destroyed and the surrounding city area (in a 10 km / 6 mi radius) severely damaged in two explosions that occurred on August 4, 2020.
At ~6 pm on August 4, two massive explosions in Port Beirut caused deaths, numerous serious injuries and severe damages to the cargo port area (totally destroyed) and various buildings in the city. The second blast sent up an enormous mushroom cloud-like shockwave and damaged many buildings as far as 10 km (6 mi) away from the port.
On August 5 was announced that the blast have been caused by 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) unsafely stored in a warehouse (Warehouse 12) since 2013. The local news reports first suggested 100+ dead. The explosion destroyed almost everything in a 10 km (6 mi) radius.
Various reports soon confirmed significant damages to Abou Merhi Cruises-owned ship Orient Queen, the Bangladesh Navy vessel BNS Bijoy (guided missile corvette, IMO 7920015), the general cargo ship Mero Star (IMO 8321682) and the livestock carrier Jouri (IMO 9174775). Other severely damaged/destroyed in the explosions vessels included Raouf H (cargo ship, IMO 8325535), Amadeo II (edible oil tanker, IMO 7423990), two abandoned livestock carriers (Abou Karim 1, Abou Karim 3). On the berthed Orient Queen, 2 crew were killed and 7 seriously injured. Cruise liner's interior was blown out. The vessel listed heavily onto the quayside and capsized/partially sank overnight.
On August 6 was reported that the explosions have killed 135+ people and injured 5000+. In total, the powerful explosions (equivalent to 4,5 Richter magnitude earthquake) resulted in 220+ deaths, 6500+ injured, ~300,000 homeless/displaced, USD 15+ billion in property damages.
Port Beirut is Lebanon's main seaport, located on St George Bay's eastern part, west of Beirut River. By cargo shipping volumes, it is ranked among Eastern Mediterranean's largest.
- Containership terminals are operated by a private subcontractor (Beirut Container Terminal Consortium). Most of the cargo traffic is with Syria, Jordan, Iraq, the Persian Gulf States. The seaport covers a total area of 1,2 km2 (0,5 ml2) and has 4 turning basins, 16 docks (quays) and 1 container terminal (quay 16) with an annual capacity to handle up to 745,000 TEUs (containers).
- Free Zone in the seaport includes 3 warehouses and a commercial building with 46 tax-free shops. Logistic Free Zone contains several warehouses with processing capabilities. Port's general cargo area has 12 warehouses and 1-grain silo (capacity of 120,000 tons).
- Beirut is a transshipment port serving some of the world's largest container shipping companies - MSC and CMA-CGM.
Turning basin 1 became part of a major port development project budgeted around USD 2 billion. It includes rebuilding the Central District, transforming quays 1 and 2 into a promenade and construction of leisure properties.
The port expansion project includes upgrades of the existing infrastructure, cargo area (container terminal, buildings, equipment), marine works (quay walls, breakwaters), new shuttle bus system. The project also included building an international cruise terminal, cultural, entertainment and commercial venues on the waterfront (markets, shops, event spaces, exhibitions, parks). Among the signature design elements were pedestrian bridges, viewing platforms, light-towers.
The city is a hub for Lebanon's politics and economy. Here are the headquarters and main offices of all major banks and corporations. The city is served by its seaport and the international Rafic Hariri Airport. Lebanon's currency is among the few backed with solid gold. Lebanese currency is fully convertible and exchangeable.
Most city investment projects are in construction, commerce, and industry (mainly textiles and shoe manufacturing, food processing, printing). Among the largest industries are banking and finance, publishing, trade, oil production. Here are located the country's central bank and Stock Exchange, Middle East Airlines, the unions of Arab Banks and Arab Stock Exchanges.
Tourism is a historically important industry and a major revenue source for the country. Annually, the city is visited by around 3 million foreign tourists.
- Statistics show that over 1/3 of all tourists come from Arab states and 1/3 from Europe (mainly France, Germany, UK). Most tourist attractions and tourism-related services are in the Central District, where are located numerous interesting buildings in various architectural styles (French, Venetian Gothic, Ottoman, Arabesque), old mosques, crusader churches, Roman ruins, restaurants, cafes, pubs, shopping malls, hotels. The waterfront, the marina features a seaside promenade and amazing city skyline with skyscrapers.
- Corniche is 5 km (3 ml) long promenade street (Raouche) encircling the seafront from St George Bay (north) to General de Gaulle Avenue (south).
- Badaro neighborhood is the city's green district with a large public park (Beirut Pine Forest) and hippodrome (serving floatplanes. Here can be found numerous small eateries and shops selling home-made food and traditional crafts), including bakeries, pastry shops, sidewalk cafes.
- Hamra Street (connecting Central District with Raouche) houses numerous boutiques, restaurants, and cafes, bars and pubs, street vendors, nightclubs.
Major international hotel chains establish partnerships with local clinics and travel agencies to develop medical tourism to Beirut with attractive healthcare packages. Cosmetic surgery attracts many foreigners mainly for routine procedures (plastic, dental, eye). The city's best clinics are Sahel General Hospital and Clemenceau Medical Center.
Beirut cruise terminal
Beirut cruise terminal is located on Quay 5 and faces Turning Basin 2. The old building was reconstructed into a modern passenger terminal (sized 600 m2 / 6500 ft2). The terminal project was completed in 2018.
Here is homeported the operated by Abou Merhi Cruises ship Orient Queen.
The Orient Queen cruise ship which was berthed at Port Beirut (Lebanon) has sunk following two very large explosions in the cargo port on August 4...August 6, 2020
Authorities in Lebanon are counting the number of dead and injured after the explosion at Beirut Port that rocked the city. The blast, which...August 5, 2020
A massive explosion ripped through the Lebanon;'s capital Beirut City on Tuesday, August 4, injuring many people and blowing out windows in a wealth...August 4, 2020
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