I Coast toxic waste trial starts

2010-06-01 13:11
Amsterdam - The Dutch trial of a Swiss-based company whose chartered ship dumped waste alleged to have killed 17 people in the Ivory Coast in 2006, opened here on Tuesday with the main defendants absent.

There was no-one for multinational Trafigura in the dock of the Amsterdam district court for the start of the trial against the company, the boat's captain and four others accused of breaking Dutch environment and waste export laws.

This was Trafigura's first trial over the events which saw caustic soda and petroleum residues on board the Probo Koala vessel shown away from the Port of Amsterdam and redirected to Abidjan, where they were dumped on city waste tips.

"The waste went to a third-world country" instead of being treated in Amsterdam as planned, an option that was less expensive but "dangerous", prosecutor Luuk Boogert told the court.

Trafigura if convicted faces a fine of up to €1.34m.

Price hike

The waste, consisting of slops from the cleaning of fuel transportation tanks, was pumped back into the Probo Koala after APS demanded a higher price for it being more toxic than previously thought.

Trafigura declined to pay the increased price.

The company, which denies any link between the waste and casualties, has reached out-of-court settlements in the Ivory Coast and Britain that stopped legal proceedings there.

In one of the deals involving a €33m settlement for 31 000 plaintiffs, the parties quoted an independent experts' report which found no link between the waste and 17 deaths and thousands of poisoning cases claimed by Ivory Coast lawyers.

Human impact

A United Nations report published last September, however, found "strong" evidence blaming the waste for at least 15 deaths and several hospitalisations.

Also absent from the courtroom on Tuesday were the Ukrainian captain of the ship, Sergiy Chertov, Trafigura employee Naeem Ahmed who co-ordinated the operation, and waste treatment company Amsterdam Port Services (APS).

"I understand he is at sea," presiding Judge Frans Bauduin said of the captain's absence, adding: "We have tried to contact him by email."

Chertov and Ahmed each risk a fine of up to €134 000 and 21 years in jail - the captain for allegedly falsifying documents and lying to Dutch port authorities about the nature of the waste that arrived at Amsterdam on July 2 2006, and Ahmed for his role in co-ordinating the operation from London.

Only APS former managing director Evert Uittenbosch, who is charged in his personal capacity and risks six years in jail, and the city of Amsterdam which administers the port, were present in the dock for the start of the hearing.

The trial is expected to conclude on July 2.
- SAPA
Read more on:    ivory coast  |  netherlands  |  west africa
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to be too fixed on a set way of doing things today. You may get challenged and the best approach is to keep an...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.