Port and Government Officials Probed over Tianjin Blasts

Chinese prosecutors have started investigations against eleven current and former government and port officials for suspected neglect of duty and abuse of power related to the Tainjin port explosions that killed at least 139 people earlier this month, Xinhua news agency reports.

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.

Tianjin Port Development, a container terminals operator at the port, suspended trading of its stocks on the Hong Kong exchange Thursday morning, without disclosing the reason for the halt.

China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) today issued a separate statement saying that police have detained 12 people suspected of being responsible for the tragedy.

The detained men include 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, MPS said.

World Maritime News Staff

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