Toxic waste from the oil tanker Probo Koala, blamed for the death of three people in Ivory Coast, was too expensive to dispose of in Amsterdam, the Volkskrant newspaper reports this morning.
The tanker, under contract to Amstelveen company Trafigura, ended up dumping its load of polluted oil waste in several places around the Ivory Coast capital Abdijan after the Dutch environment ministry decided it did not need an export licence, the paper said. Three people have since died and 1,500 have been taken ill. On Wednesday, the Ivory Coast government resigned over the scandal.
The paper reports that the oil mixture was originally due to be disposed of by specialists Amsterdam Port Service. However, the paper said, when the liquid was pumped out, there was a ‘heavy smell of rotten eggs’ which the workers did not trust. Work was halted when APS said it would have to increase its fee. Environment ministry officials then allowed the ship to leave without an export licence because the tank contents were described as ‘ship’s waste’ rather than chemicals. A spokesman for Trafigura told the Volkskrant it would have taken too long and been too expensive to clean up in Amsterdam and claimed the Ivory Coast company was accredited to deal with it. Het Parool newspaper reports that Trafigura is currently under investigation over its involvement in the oil for food scandal in Iraq. The Probo Koala is now heading for Estonia.
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