Amsterdam rebuked over 'poison ship'

6th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 December 2006, AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam should not have approved an operation in which chemical waste was pumped back on board the tanker Probo Koala after its initial unloading.

6 December 2006

AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam should not have approved an operation in which chemical waste was pumped back on board the tanker Probo Koala after its initial unloading.

A commission of inquiry said on Wednesday that Dutch authorities had the possibility to leave the waste in Amsterdam.

But in presenting its final report, the commission toned down its conclusions by saying regulations around shipping waste were "very complex and deficient".

And the Amsterdam City Council did not have the legal authority to ban the ship leaving the city's port. That responsibility rested with the Dutch State.

The ship arrived at Amsterdam port on 3 July and offered in vain waste for processing. Residents complained of a bad smell.

Part of the waste was unloaded, but on 5 July the city council approved an operation to pump the waste back on board.

In the Ivory Coast, tens of thousands of people later fell ill and 10 people died after breathing in toxic fumes probably originating from the ship.

The commission's report criticised the co-operation between Amsterdam's various services, stressing that procedures work well for everyday matters, but were proven inadequate in exceptional circumstances such as the Probo Koala.

It said the city's authorities had not recognised the complexities and seriousness of the situation. They therefore failed to inform involved aldermen and women before decisions were made.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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