Officials: Sanctioned Muuga Harbor fertilizers not dangerous

Muuga Harbor, operated by the Port of Tallinn.
Muuga Harbor, operated by the Port of Tallinn. Source: ERR

Regular checks on 12,000 tonnes of sanctioned fertilizer held at Tallinn's Muuga Habor are being carried out and, so far, no concerns have been noted. The owner may soon receive permission to sell the goods.

Russian company Acron is the rightful owner of the ammonium nitrate but understanding what to do with the goods after sanctions were applied earlier this year has been somewhat of a headache for Estonian officials.

The fertilizer has the potential to explode if it is stored for too long, Friday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

Villagers in Muuga are concerned and it was recently said the consistency of the fertilizer has changed. They said they have been given little information about what is going on.

Agu Tiiman, DBT terminal spokesperson, which stores the fertilizer, said the company checks all its warehouses.

"We have been [visited] very often lately by all kinds of inspections, both from the emergency services and the technical inspectorate, and they have not found any irregularities or anomalies in the required conditions for the storage of mineral fertilizers during any of their visits," said Tiiman.

Muuga harbor, Source: AS Tallinna Sadam

The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) has received calls from people related to current or former employees which has led to checks taking place every day.

The agency said the fertilizer is stored safely in a building that meets requirements.

"Temperatures are monitored on a daily basis and recorded in real-time on a computer in the plant, where we can see how the temperature has or has not changed. And tests are carried out on the ammonium nitrate to see whether the situation has become more dangerous or not. Today all these parameters show that the fertilizer is still safe," said Ingrid Teinemaa, head of the technical department of TTJA.

Both Teinemaa and Tiiman said that the fertilizer has hardened, but it does not pose a danger.

"All bulk fertilizers, because they absorb moisture, create a harder crust on top, a caked layer. This is perfectly normal with fertilizers, it doesn't make it dangerous," said Teinemaa.

Discussions about selling the fertilizer have been taking for months but not been resolved due to its sanctions status. It may now be possible to sell the product due to its environmental threat.

The Financial Intelligence Unit told AK the owner of the fertilizer will be given permission to sell it in the near future.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright

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