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IVORY COAST: Toxic waste: company to pay

by AFPTimes Live
September 17th, 2009

Victims took legal action in Britain against Trafigura after waste from a ship the company chartered was illegally dumped in Abidjan, killing 17 people and causing more than 100,000 to seek medical help.

“A global settlement is being considered by the parties and it currently appears that this settlement is likely to be acceptable to most, if not all, of the claimants,” the claimants’ lawyers and Trafigura said in a joint statement.

The Dutch multinational company, which has a base in London, reiterated that it was not responsible for deaths or serious injuries from the dumping, and has not admitted liability.

The company will pay thousands of people who suffered short-term illnesses including vomiting, diahorrhea and breathing difficulties. The compensation will run to millions of pounds, reports said.

The High Court case was one of Britain’s largest ever group lawsuits, the reports said.

“Over the last few weeks we have been exploring with Trafigura the possibility of resolving the 30,000 claims,” the solicitor leading the class action, Martyn Day, told The Independent newspaper.

“We have reached a point where we are now in the process of putting a global deal to the claimants. I am optimistic as to the outcome of that process. The claimants are very pleased and are keen to see the issue resolved.”

More than 500 cubic metres of waste “slops” from a Panamanian-registered cargo ship were dumped at public sites across Abidjan in August 2006.

Two men were jailed in the Ivory Coast last year over the illegal dumping, by a sub-contractor, of the waste from the Probo Koala, the cargo ship chartered by Trafigura.

Trafigura reached a 152 million euro (215 million dollar) settlement with the Ivorian government in February last year and was give indemnity against prosecution.



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