The full list of ships impacted by the Beirut explosion

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The horrific explosion in Beirut Lebanon on 4th August came from a warehouse in the main port area. Damage was reported to buildings more than 2km from the epicentre. Videos showed force waves crossing the harbour area towards anchored shipping and a ship capsized on the other side of the harbour.

Every time a disaster occurs, almost anywhere in the world, it is insurance companies who will cover the many repairs and enable recovery of individuals and businesses. When such events happen, shipping too can be victim of disasters, more often storms and weather events but occasionally more sinister events such as the explosion in Beirut.

Shipping Insurers depend on AIS-tracking

AIS data tracking location and paths of vessels allows fleet managers and operators to plan to avoid weather events. AIS also allows marine insurers to assess risk and exposure to regional events. They can monitor the location of vessels that they are responsible for and take proactive decisions when there is the luxury of avoidance.

However when there is no advance warning or prediction of an event, such as surprise explosions, then AIS can be used to identify shipping present in the area affected, be it at sea in the area of a tsunami, in port during an earthquake or as on 4th Aug 2020, during a massive, powerful explosion within a port area.

Which ships were impacted?

This sample shows the vessels that were in Beirut port or anchored outside the port but still within range of the explosion to cause material damage or human injury.

Many reports have already come in for damaged, or even sunken ships at the port and with the added evidence from AIS showing the vessels were moored close to the explosion, there can be little doubt to the validity of the subsequent insurance claims. This data is also helpful to identify ships that need help and to proactively reach out with assistance from managers, operators or insurers.

If you are involved in maritime hull insurance or P&I insurance then AIS becomes an invaluable tool for planning, investigation and support.

What our data tells us

This image shows the tracks of vessels reported by Spire AIS which were within or close to the port of Beirut on 4-Aug.

Ships in Beirut port area Aug 4th - AIS data

AIS tracks for ships in Beirut port area Aug 4th

2 vessels were recognised moored at the end of the wharf where the explosion occurred. And the Orient Queen, on the other side of the harbour has now sunk and taken two crew members’ lives.

Moored ships by name in Beirut Aug 4th

Moored ships by name in Beirut Aug 4th

Using the Vessel’s API from Spire Maritime, we have extracted all the vessels whose last position was in the Beirut port area. This extract was done in the evening of Tuesday 4th August. Also included in this sample is the tracks of these vessels in the previous days including our Enhanced Vessel Data which provides their name, type, and size where known.

Take a closer look at the data

The long term consequences on shipping and Beirut’s supply chain

Besides destroying the port of Beirut, there are a number of significant challenges ahead for the country following the explosion. One critical point is the impact on Lebanon’s food supply chain; the country imports nearly all of it’s food shipped from countries like Ukraine and Russia, especially grain, and the explosion wreaked havoc on a nearby food storage facility which handles 60% of the country’s imports.

“If Beirut’s port is effectively being taken out of commission, it’s going to add to the already existing disruptions to the supply chain,” Khatija Haque, head of research for the Middle East and North Africa at Dubai’s Emirates NBD bank, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Given that so much of Lebanon’s needs are imported, it could eventually put further upward pressure on prices.”

Shipping lines have already started to divert vessels to other Lebanese ports. Lebanon’s second largest city, Tripoli, will serve as the main alternative port for grain imports, and there is enough flour in the supply chain to sustain the country for 6 weeks. However this comes after Lebanon has been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic and is suffering from an economic crisis. The capital relied on grain imports to the ports, rerouting this will inevitably disrupt their supply chain in the long term.

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