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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Maritime Logistics Professional

Email trail exposes Trafigura toxic knowledge

Posted to On the waterfront (by on September 17, 2009

The investigation into the Trafigura toxic waste dumping in the Ivory Coast highlights just how much the company really knew

A stealthily-covered up email trail has lead Erin Brockovich-style prosecutors to expose Trafigura and its knowledge of toxic dumping off the Ivory Coast.

The suspicion had long been that Swiss-based oil-trading giant Trafigura knew that the waste from its Probo Koala ship in 2006 was hazardous, although the company had maintained that it was simply ‘tank washing’, an accepted practice of washing the oil tank using the crude oil cargo itself. 

Trafigura, with key locations in London, Amsterdam and Geneva, had previously stated that it was not aware of the hazardous waste which had caused over 30,000 Africans to experience sickness, breathing problems and skin damage due to the cocktail of lethal chemical compounds dumped into the water in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. 

However, its willingness to pay £100 million to the Ivory Coast government as compensation to the victims prompted a more thorough investigation to ensure that Trafigura were truly not aware of the nature of the waste. 

This week has seen that investigation come to the dramatic conclusion that Trafigura did know, as a convoluted email trail came to light, proving that senior officials were fully aware of the dangers of the Probo Koala toxic waste dumping. 

It is now expected that a huge settlement figure will be reached to further compensate the victims, including the families of 16 Ivorian people whose deaths are believed to have been cased by the toxic waste.