It now transpires that the police, Amsterdam council’s environment department, national shipping inspectors, environment ministry and public prosecution officials and the port authorities were all involved in deciding what to do with the tanker Probo Koala.

The ship was sent away from Holland and went on to dump its toxic cargo in Ivory Coast, killing seven people and creating poisonous dumps all over the capital Abdijan.The more the story unfolds, the more people seem to be involved – and the more people seem to be denying it was their responsibility. The Volkskrant reports that even though four different waste disposal experts said the sludge in the Probo Koala’s tanks was chemical waste, the ship was still allowed to sail. ‘But it was still officially ship’s waste, our hands were tied,’ is their response. It either wasn’t their job to do this or they didn’t have the power to do that. In Ivory Coast they are burying their dead, treating the sick and clearing up the mess. In Amsterdam the officials and government continue to squabble about who did what and when. There will be inquiries and reports, accusations and counter-accusations and who knows, someone may even lose their job. But in the end, will anyone involved in this whole mess actually say ‘sorry’?

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