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Oil Firm Guilty of Exporting Toxic Waste to Ivory Coast

Oil Firm Guilty of Exporting Toxic Waste to Ivory Coast

A Dutch court has found the multinational oil firm Trafigura guilty of exporting toxic waste from Amsterdam to Ivory Coast and concealing the nature of the cargo.

In 2006 Trafigura initially tried to clean up low-grade oil, and unloaded it in Amsterdam for treatment. When the firm determined the price of cleaning the waste was too high, it decided to dispose of the waste in Ivory Coast.

The firm faces a fine of 1 million euros, or approximately $1.29 million USD. An employee involved in the operation was fined 250,000 euros, and the captain of the ship received a five year suspended jail term.

According to Amnesty International, over 100,000 people in Ivory Coast sought medical attention, and 15 people died as a result of the waste. Special Advisor Benedetta Lacey of Amnesty bring up a salient point. “While the ruling is a significant step forward, this is not the end of the story for those affected. There are unanswered questions about the impact that the waste may have had on people’s health, and the areas where the waste was dumped are yet to be fully decontaminated.”

This is the first time Trafigura has faced criminal charges, but in 2007 the firm paid $160 million USD to the government of Ivory Coast without admitting liability. It additionally paid $50 million USD to citizens who claimed the toxic waste harmed them in an out-of-court settlement.

While Trafigura has been found guilty of forgery for concealing the cargo, Greenpeace toxics campaigner Marietta Harjono points out that “justice is not complete yet, because this is only the beginning, because Trafigura has not been brought to trial yet for the deliberate dumping of toxic waste in Africa.”

Meanwhile Trafigura claims no wrongdoing and is considering an appeal.

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119 comments

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1:29AM PDT on Aug 5, 2010

Did you see the state of the drums in the photograph?
Most couldn't even close and none are sealed!
And Tragifura claims no wrongdoing?
What do they say it is then?
Rightdoing?
We will always have transgressions like this bcause you will always find some African country's bigwigs benefiting from something shocking like this.
Do you think they care that so many people got sick and even died?
Those are the people that should be brought before court in The Hague in Holland!
The $160m Tragifura paid in 2007 was for gambling losses?
Rather let them play Russian roulette!

3:14PM PDT on Aug 4, 2010

Again, money is to blame.

8:04PM PDT on Aug 1, 2010

Unbelievable. Totally disgusting. I hope this company is made to pay for the damages it has caused.

4:02PM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

This is outrageous. But it happens more often than not in different regions of the world, particularly in poor countries. There should be a strong international law controlling and punishing these abuses.

6:00AM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

The fines are way too low. It cost more to treat the chemicals so why not. The fines have to be 10x the cost to treat or they will just dump it again.

7:53PM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

Thanks for the article.

7:45PM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

And this is just the top of an iceberg!I am sure of that.Thanks...

4:55PM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

Shameful. Thank you for posting.

2:52AM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

Oil - The new weapon of WAR

2:17AM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

Thanks for posting.

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