Dutch prosecutors drop asbestos ship probe
Dutch prosecutors said Tuesday they were dropping a five-year criminal probe of an asbestos-contaminated Dutch ship sent back by Turkey in 2006, costing the state millions of euros.
"Prosecutors decided after a thorough criminal investigation to close the case of the Otapan to Turkey," the prosecution's office said in a statement posted on its website.
The Otapan left Amsterdam's port in July 2006 for dismantling in Turkey, but authorities there a month later refused to let the Mexican-flagged ship enter territorial waters.
Turkish officials said the ship had some 54 tonnes of asbestos on board, much more than indicated by its documents.
Prosecutors said Tuesday it found evidence that the asbestos content indicated on paperwork was indeed far lower than that on board the actual ship and in 2007 it launched a criminal investigation into the issue.
But no specific person could be blamed and charged with a crime, the prosecution statement added.
The eventual dismantling of the ship cost the Dutch state more than five million euros ($6,6 million dollars), Dutch news agency ANP reported.
Environmental group Greenpeace, which first reported the case in October 2006, Tuesday called the prosecution's decision "very curious."
"A trial would have eventually ensured that all the facts would be placed on the table," it said in a statement.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral used for insulation which can cause fatal lung disease if proper precautions are not taken.
© 2011 AFP