The Lebanese owner of a cruise ship that was sunk by the huge explosion that destroyed the port of Beirut is filing a lawsuit, the state-run National News Agency said on Friday.
Two crew members of the Orient Queen were killed and seven others wounded on Tuesday when a huge shipment of ammonium nitrate caught fire and caused an explosion that levelled the port and gutted entire swathes of the city.
"Entrepreneur Merhi Abou Merhi, the owner of the Orient Queen cruise ship, has filed a lawsuit against all those responsible for this catastrophic blast," the agency said.
The state agency said the suit was the first of its kind and could pave the way for similar legal action in the coming days and weeks.
The large cruise ship, which can accommodate at least 300 guests and houses a casino, was docked in its home port when disaster struck.
At the time of the blast, no travellers were on board because summer cruising operations had been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The five-star cruise liner typically sails from Beirut Port to five destinations in Europe and Asia during summer.
Had normal operations been in place, it’s likely that the cruise liner would have been at sea at the time of the explosion.
Extensive damage was also reported at the head office of Abou Merhi Cruises, at the start of Bliss Street in Beirut's Hamra area.
The provisional death toll for the explosion is 154 but the figure is expected to rise since dozens of people are still reported missing and large numbers of injured are still hospitalised in critical condition.