Amstelveen-based oil trader Trafigura, owner of the toxic waste dumped in Ivory Coast because it was too expensive to process in Amsterdam, has admitted the ship Probo Koala was used as an off-shore factory, the Volkskrant reports today.
Speaking at a news conference in London, general manager Eric de Turckheim said a shipment of nafta had been processed on board the ship to reduce its sulphur content. The company had earlier stated that the toxic waste, which is alleged to have killed eight people in Ivory Coast, was the product of a normal tank cleaning process.
Dutch justice ministry officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding the Probo Koala’s stay in the Netherlands. The ship was allowed to leave because the waste was described as ordinary ‘slops’ rather than chemicial waste, which would have needed an export licence. The toxic material was later dumped by an Ivorian waste processor at 18 locations across the capital Abdijan. Some reports say they had tried to burn it. Dutch lawyer Bob van der Goen is currently preparing a damages claim on behalf of hundreds of victims.
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