• 2006-11-01
  • From Trafigura
Your story "Death ship departs Tallinn, leaves behind toxic waste" accusedTrafigura of not making proper arrangements to safely dispose of wasteproducts from its chartered ship, the Probo Koala, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.Indeed, it implied that the Probo Koala's voyage was to deliver a cargo of 'toxic waste' from Estonia to the Ivory Coast. In fact, the Probo Koala hadcarried a cargo of gasoline from Estonia to Nigeria. Abidjan is one of thelargest and best equipped refinery ports in West Africa. It was the nextsuitable port on the journey back to the Baltic for the disposal of theship's waste products, or "slops".

In Abidjan, a Government-certifiedcompany was contracted by the ship's agents to receive the slops and deliverthem for safe disposal according to normal industry practices. The slopswere offloaded in daylight into road tankers at a petroleum berth under thesupervision of port, customs and environmental authorities on 20 August. TheProbo Koala left Abidjan with all normal clearances from the port authoritytwo days later.What happened to the slops after they were offloaded from the ship is amatter for the Ivorian investigators. Trafigura is distressed at the deathsand illnesses which have occurred in Abidjan and is co operating fully withthe Ivorian authorities in trying to establish the facts of what happened.Trafigura has traded in West Africa for more than 10 years and is confidentthat the Company behaved correctly and ethically at all times with regard tothe Probo Koala.Your story also said that Estonian tests has found that illegal refining ofgasoline had occurred at sea aboard the Probo Koala. This is mistaken andmuddled. The Estonian authorities have made it clear that the slops aboardthe ship were related to normal processes for ship of this type. It is notpossible to "refine" oil at sea. A ship is not an oil refinery. Butdifferent types of gasoline can be mixed aboard ship to meet the particularrequirements of different customers. This is not unusual or illegal.Trafigura

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