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Monday, September 23, 2019

Maritime Logistics Professional

Could this be the final installment of the Trafigura saga?

Posted to On the waterfront (by on October 22, 2009

The Twittering classes have won, with Trafigura now claiming it supports 'free speech'. Hmmmmmm....

OK, so let’s go full circle on the Trafigura story and look at how the issue developed in the media.

Not only has it been a massive story for the shipping industry, highlighting how some dark practices have been slipping under the radar, but it’s also shown just how much power David can sometimes have over Goliath. And we all love that message, especially all those people tweeting, feeling part of something bigger than themselves. Making a difference is something we all crave. 

On The Waterfront has followed the developing story with great interest and the latest apparent ‘closure’ looks far from the end of the problem. Indeed, it has only served to illustrate the importance of honesty in the media, with discrepancies evident in glorious technicolour when everyone from politicians, to celebrities to the man on the street is able to make their points quickly and effectively. 

As we know now, the Trafigura story started in August 2006 when, within weeks of the multi-national oil shipping company dumping waste of the Ivory Coast, local people started experiencing horrific skin and respiratory problems. By September 2009, the Guardian newspaper published evidence that showed the company was aware of the dumping, around the same time that it agreed to pay compensation to victims. 

Trafigura instructed law firm Carter Ruck to stop the Guardian reporting any more details, specifically those related to a question in the Houses of Parliament, which caused a total uproar on the blogosphere and social networking sites, most notably Twitter. 

Since the last On The Waterfront blog post on the matter, Carter Ruck has totally given up its quest to ‘restrain’ information and the dropped injunction has allowed the Guardian, and other news outlets, to report the facts about just how much Trafigura was aware of what it was dumping off the Ivory Coast and its potential health risks. 

Trafigura has been quick to try to turn the about-turn to its advantage, saying it ‘supports free speech’, but the Twittering classes, surprisingly, don’t seem to be buying it.