Owner of cruise ship sunk by Lebanon blast sues 'those responsible'

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By Euronews & AFP
The Orient Queen cruise pictured three days before it sunk.
The Orient Queen cruise pictured three days before it sunk.   -  Copyright  JOSEPH EID / AFP

The owner of a cruise ship that was sunk by the massive explosion in Beirut is filling a lawsuit against "those responsible" for the blast, Lebanon's state news agency said Friday. 

Two crew members of the Orient Queen were killed and seven others were wounded after a huge shipment of ammonium nitrate caught fire and exploded on Tuesday.

"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 National News Agency said. 

The agency also said the suit, which is the first of its kind, could lead to similar legal action from others. 

The large cruise ship, which can accommodate at least 300 guests and houses a casino, was docked in its home port when disaster struck.

The provisional number of victims from the explosion increased to 154 on Friday, with another 5,000 people injured. Dozens of people are still reported missing. 

Around 300,000 people, more than 12 percent of Beirut's population, were unable to return to their homes because of the devastation caused by the blast. 

Anger against the government has been brewing with protesters clashing with police on Thursday night at an anti-government rally in the Lebanese capital.

Demonstrators pelted officers with stones, voicing their anger against the political elite.

Many in the city feel government negligence and corruption are to blame for the deadly explosion.