Doubts surround Tianjin logistics company after massive blasts

GMT 12:01 2015 Tuesday ,18 August

Arab Today, arab today Doubts surround Tianjin logistics company after massive blasts

Tianjin blast
Tianjin - XINHUA

The company whose warehouse exploded in Tianjin, killing more than one hundred and devastating the port area, was licensed to handle dangerous chemicals at the time of the blasts, but suspicions have been raised over its certificates.

"The company has handled hazardous chemicals during a period without a license," an executive with the company, Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics Co. Ltd., confirmed with Xinhua reporters on Monday.

Founded in December 2011, the company was granted temporary approval to handle hazardous chemicals from April 2014 to Oct. 2014, company documents showed.

The company did not cease working with dangerous chemicals after the license expired.

In June 2015, Ruihai obtained a port operation license, which again allowed them to work with dangerous chemicals. At the time of the blasts they were storing highly toxic sodium cyanide and potentially explosive potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate.

Company documents show they passed a security check, another required license, but details remain unpublished.

The Tianjin transport commission, which keeps security records, refused to reveal any specifics due to an on-going investigation by the State Council, China's cabinet.

Doubts also surround a poll of 128 people living near the warehouse. Conducted by environmental authorities as part of certification, the poll concluded "most of the respondents support the project, with no objections."

But residents in the neighborhood claim they had no knowledge of the warehouse in their backyard.

Du Huan, a resident who lives near the blast, said she never responded to any questionnaires.

"Had I received the questionnaire, I would never agree or Ok such a report," she said.

A resident surnamed Sun, who had rented an office about 1000 meters away from the warehouse, said he would not have done so had he known there was storage of dangerous materials nearby.

Vanke, real estate developer of a community damaged by the blasts, said when it obtained the land in 2010, the warehouse stored ordinary goods.

The developer said it had never been informed the warehouse, 560 meters away, kept dangerous chemicals.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate is investigating all involved officials for dereliction of duty and other crimes.

As of Tuesday, death toll from the massive blasts on August 12 rose to 114. Seventy others remain missing.

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