Environment minister Pieter van Geel is again under fire from MPs for allowing the tanker Probo Koala to leave Dutch waters carrying toxic waste which was later dumped in Ivory Coast, killing at least seven people.
MPs have demanded to know why the ship was allowed to leave, even though Amsterdam officials had raised concerns about the cargo. Van Geel said last week the ship could not be kept in Amsterdam because the cargo was described as ‘slurry’ not chemical waste.
The Volkskrant reports today that justice ministry officials are now investigating the actions of the senior Amsterdam civil servant who gave permission for the toxic waste to be pumped back into the Probo Koala, after the clean-up contract was cancelled on grounds of cost. The paper says the man may have been too closely connected with APS, the processing company originally contracted to clean up the waste. Cargo owner Trafigura Beheer cancelled the contract when the price went up because the pungent smell caused concern about what the exact content of the slurry.
On Monday, two senior Trafigura employees were arrested in the Ivory Coast capital of Abdijan. Trafigura said it was ‘very shocked’ by the arrests. The company has a ‘stringent policy’ on waste disposal and is committed to helping those suffering as a result of the crisis, Trafigura said in a statement.
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