China has named 11 government and port officials whose “negligence” is suspected to have led to a series explosions that ripped through a warehouse storing hazardous materials earlier this month.
At least 145 people were killed when two massive blasts rocked the Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics warehouse, which was reportedly storing over 40 kinds of chemicals including 700 tons of sodium cyanide, 800 tons of ammonium nitrate and 500 tons of potassium nitrate.
Some of these officials include Wu Dai, the head of Tianjin’s transportation commission, as well as Zheng Qingyue, the Tianjin port operator boss, according to the BBC.
Prosecutors said the government officials were variously suspected of approving Ruihai’s bid to build a hazardous chemical warehouse in the port despite knowing the location broke safety regulations, and of helping the company to pass safety checks even though it did not meet the required standards.
Port officials were also negligent in their supervision of Ruihai’s operations, said the statement, failing to detect “illegal activity” and safety issues around its handling of hazardous materials.
It’s unclear whether the 11 officials have been taken into custody, but 12 Ruihai executives accused of being “heavily responsible” for the blasts have been formally detained.
Among them is Ruihia Chairman Yu Xuewei, vice-chairman Dong Sexhuan and other managers from the safety, finance and operation sectors of the company.
Yang Dongliang, the director of the State Administration of Work Safety and former vice-mayor of Tianjin, was also fired on August 26 for “serious breaches of discipline and the law”.