O-150 Rev.1 Ammunition Accident at the Envangelis Florakis Naval Base, Zygi, Cyprus

September 2014

On the 11th of July 2011 at 5:50 in the morning a huge explosion tore through the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base on the island of Cyprus. The immediate consequences were the loss of 13 personnel with 62 injured. The dead included:  Captain Andreas Ioannides, the Commander of the Navy; Commander Lambros Lambrou, the commander of the Evangelos Florakis base; along with four other Cyprus Navy personnel and six civilian firefighters who had been tackling the blaze that led to the explosion.

The resulting blast destroyed a nearby power plant and damaged buildings including at the nearby villages of Mari and Zygi (at 4.5 km). Loss of the Vassilikou power station, which providing some 50% of the power capacity for the Republic of Cyprus, resulted in rolling blackouts lasting two to three hours.

MSIAC has been active in gathering information related to this event and has produced an analysis based on the evidence gathered. Much of this was extracted from a 600 page report produced in the aftermath of the incident by the Cypriot authorities [1]. We have not received a complete dossier of the evidence and the information used in this article has been gathered from unverified accounts, hence the present article should not be taken as a definitive or authorised report.

Such an event often provides painful but useful lessons from which we can learn from. With this in mind, MSIAC has conducted an analysis of the available information to try and answer the following questions:

  • What was the likely cause?
  • Were NATO standards adhered to pertaining to the safe storage of military ammunition (AASTP1) [2]?
  • Were proper fire fighting principles and procedures applied?
  • Were the explosive effects consistent with the Net Explosive Quantity (NEQ)?
  • Was the material correctly classified in accordance with United Nations Transport of Dangerous Goods Recommendations?  
  • What are the lessons learned from this accident that we can share in order to prevent similar recurrences?
Presentation & publication details: 
This paper was published in “Explosives Engineering” in the December 2012 issue.
Author(s): 
  • Thomas N. Taylor (Munitions Safety, Transport and Storage)
Contributor(s): 
  • Dr Michael W. Sharp (Project Manager)
  • MSIAC Staff