Personal injury lawyer Bob van der Goen is to begin legal action against Amsterdam city council for its role in the Probo Koala toxic waste affair, the Telegraaf reported on Monday. The paper said Van der Goen is representing 1,075 people from Ivory Coast who became ill when the ship’s waste was dumped around the port city of Abdijan in August. Ten people died and thousands became ill.
The ship, Probo Koala is owned by Amstelveen registered oil company Trafigura and spent several days in Amsterdam before leaving for Ivory Coast. Trafigura dropped plans to have the ship’s hold cleaned out in Amsterdam because it was too expensive.
Waste which had already been pumped out of the ship was pumped back in and the Probo Koala was allowed to leave, despite worries that the waste was toxic.
Van der Goen has given Amsterdam two weeks to admit liability or face legal action. A council inquiry late last year said that the city had no legal powers to stop the ship sailing, but did say the waste should not have been pumped back.
On Friday it emerged that a British lawyer is to bring a group action involving up to 5,000 people in Ivory Coast. Trafigura, which has offices in London, has denied the waste it disposed was toxic and has begun a libel action against Martyn Day’s firm.
The BBC reported that a team of six lawyers from the London-based law firm Leigh Day & Co will travel to Ivory Coast on Monday. It will be their second visit. The British lawyers will spend two weeks in the African country, meeting victims at the sites where waste was found.
That case is due to be heard next year.
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