Toxic Mess

As The Guardian reports today oil trader Trafigura has been fined €1 million for attempting to transport toxic waste to Ivory Coast in 2006.

Trafigura had initially chartered the ship Probo Koala, used to transport hundreds of tonnes of chemical slops to Amsterdam, in July 2006. When told it would have to pay the clean-up costs, the ship transported the material to Abidjan. The company was further charged with concealing the danger posed by the waste; it was only when “thousands” in Abidjan became ill and 16 people died after Trafigura “dumped [the waste] over the fence” – rather than arrange for special disposal – that the mess was discovered.

After “The Amsterdam district court judge Frans Bauduin also convicted a Trafigura employee for his role in the 2006 scandal, and the Ukranian captain of the Probo Koala ship that carried the waste”, reports The Guardian.  Trafiura had attempted to “enforce a super-injunction against the Guardian, gagging it from reporting proceedings in parliament” in 2009, but failed to do so.

Trafigura describes itself as “one of the largest independent companies trading commodities today”, handling “every element involved in the sourcing and trading of crude oil, petroleum products, renewable energies, metals, metal ores and concentrates for industrial consumers”.

Their own “Our news” link contains no information of the ruling, noting, instead, that in March 2010, its “inaugural issuance received orders for about €1 billion from over 120 accounts across Europe and based on this strong demand, the Company upsized the deal from an initial €300 million target size”.

Fining this company €1 million sounds just as ridiculous as Dr. Evil’s desire to damage the world with a $1 million ransom.

Neelika Jayawardane

Comments

comments

Neelika Jayawardane

Sharp-tongued literature professor. Senior editor at Africa is a Country.

2 Comments
  1. Dear Neelika,

    groundWork, Friends of the Earth SA (www.groundwork.org.za) would like to request permission to use the above image for our quarterly newsletter. We are an environmental justice organisation, and are writing an article about the potential import of ship slops into south Durban. I apologise for asking you this on your blog, I could not find your contact details.

    Kind regards
    Megan Lewis

    1. Megan – google my name. My academic sites (first in line) will tell you where to contact me! And…the image is from the web, connected to the original article. Credit (and permission to use) goes to that photographer.

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