Tianjin Port Head Fired

The president of the Tianjin Port Group, Zheng Qingyue, has been fired and is facing government prosecution for dereliction of duty, according to The People’s Daily newspaper.

The announcement comes three months after major chemical blasts in a warehouse, operated by Ruihai International Logistics Co., located in the port district in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin on August 12th, equivalent to 3 tonnes of TNT and 21 tonnes of TNT respectively, killing over 160 people.

The explosion resulted in dangerously high contamination of the area with cyanide as China’s Port of Tianjin is a major base for petrochemicals, where dangerous chemicals and goods are stored.

Aside to Zheng, his assistant Li Hongfeng, and the deputy chief of the firm’s safety bureau, Zheng Shuguo, would also be criminaly prosecuted on the same grounds, the daily said.

Zheng was part of an investigation launched by Chinese prosecutors against current and former government and port officials for suspected neglect of duty and abuse of power related to the Tainjin port explosions.

The officials under investigation include heads of Tianjin Port (Group) Co., Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission, as well as Wang Jinwen, a senior official at China’s Ministry of Transport, who is accused of violating the law to assist Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics Co. Ltd., owner of the warehouse where the initial blasts happened, in passing safety inspections and obtaining permission to handle hazardous materials.

The police detained 12 people suspected of being responsible for the tragedy, including Yu Xuewei, chairman of Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics, the company’s vice-chairman Dong Shexuan, and one employee of a safety evaluation team who is suspected of illegally aiding Ruihai International to receive safety evaluation papers.

The detained men are all suspected of illegal storage of dangerous materials, China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) informed.

The former head of the work safety regulator, who was removed shortly after the explosions, has also been detained, Reuters reports citing China’s state prosecutor.

World Maritime News Staff

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