The 400 Tons of Slop Scandal

(CBS)
Last summer, the Probo Koala, a ship owned by the multi-billion dollar company Trafigura, headed to Africa to deliver gasoline. CBS News has learned the gasoline was from US ports, but the company won't say which port or which company loaded it up. Either way, the ship delivered the gas, but then had to dump the "slops" somewhere. That's the nasty residue floating around in the bowels of the ship. Trafigura says it's not toxic, others like the UN, disagree. A Dutch waste company charged too much money, so Trafigura execs sent the ship to Nigeria. Not so fast, the captain wasn't sure the Nigerians could handle the job. So he went with Plan C: a company in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (Trafigura employees pictured above left to right: Jean-Pierre Valentini, West Africa manager, Catherine Dauphin, wife of Claude Dauphin, Roald Goethe and Claude Dauphin.)

What happened next is toxic waste history. Reports emerged in September that the slop was poured into sewers, saturating the city with poisonous waste. Again, Trafigura denied the danger of the slop. 10 people died and many more were sickened. Two Trafigura executives, one who owns a third of the massive company, headed to the Ivory Coast. After assessing the scene and offering the aid of their medical team – they returned to the airport, only to be arrested and thrown in Ivorian prison for four months. The AP reported that Trafigura paid the Ivory Coast government $197 million for the release of their employees and yesterday, they were reunited with their families. A class action lawsuit defending the sick Ivorians continues. However the company maintains, "Neither the company nor the Ivory Coast government accepts liability for the events of last August involving the Probo Koala."
  • Laura Strickler

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