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A truck full of garbage on the streets of Abidjan. Much of Trafigura's toxic waste was dumped in large open areas in the poor suburbs of the city. Author: Ouioui.


Environmental dumping[]

A spray-painted sign above a sewer in Colorado Springs, Colorado, warning people to not pollute the local stream by dumping.

Environmental dumping is the practice of transfrontier shipment of waste (household waste, industrial waste, junk, rubbish, nuclear waste, etc.) from one country to another. The goal is to take the waste to a country that has less strict environmental laws, or environmental laws that are not strictly enforced. The economic benefit of this practice is cheap disposal or recycling of waste without the economic regulations of the original country.    

It involves the act of exporting goods from a county that has high environmental standards and thus environmental laws and costs to a (often struggling, unstable, undeveloped, corrupt, war-torn, ignorant, uneducared, incompitent and\or poor) country with new or poorly enforced environmental protection laws and thus result in a large profit for the exporter by providing an unfair advantage in international trade. It is also detrimental to domestic business, local citizens and local environment in the importing country.

An example of an attempt at environmental dumping is the story of the decommissioned French aircraft carrier, the FS Clemenceau, which was originally sold to a ship-breaking yard in Gujarat, India, to be demolished and recycled as scrap. The Indian Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that it could not enter Indian waters due to the high level of toxic waste and 700 tons of asbestos present on the ship, forcing the French government to take the Clemenceau back. The ship was subsequently blocked from entering the Suez Canal for the same reason. In 2009, the task of recycling the vessel was ultimately taken over by specialist recyclers at Hartlepool in the United Kingdom.

The shipment of waste between countries has been referred to as “transfrontier shipment” of waste. Transfrontier waste is shipped within the European Union (EU) and between the European Union and other countries. Most of this waste is traded by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The waste is typically non-hazardous and includes metals, plastics, and paper products. In 2007, it is estimated that OECD countries exported between 4 and 5 million tons of metal and paper waste. OECD countries also exported near a half of million tons of recovered plastics in 2007. Some of these wastes that are transported can be hazardous waste. These hazardous wastes can cause potential health risks to humans and the environment. According to the Basel Convention, there is at least 8 million tons of hazardous waste imported and exported every year.

The Basel Convention was created in 1989 but started enforcing rules in 1992. The purpose of the Convention is to control the hazardous waste that was imported and exported throughout the EU. The Convention is a great contributor to stopping the shipment of illegal waste. In May 2005, 60 containers were seized that were on their way from the United Kingdom to China. The containers seized by Dutch authorities were supposed to be for paper but actually contained household wastes. Since neither the UK, China, nor Dutch had agreed to the importation of the wastes, the waste was shipped back. The Basel Convention also deals with the popular growing issue of E-waste. The Waste Shipment Regulation confirms what can be shipped to, from, and between EU countries. These regulation rules divide the waste into three separate lists: Green List, Amber List, and Red List.

  • Green List:

These items are considered to be non-hazardous and more environmentally friendly. Some of these items may include paper and plastic that can be recycled. These types of shipment don’t have to receive prior permission to cross international waters and be shipped to parts of the European Union.

  • Amber List:

Materials are considered to be mixed on this list containing both non-hazardous and hazardous parts. These materials can contain metal bearing wastes, organic and inorganic wastes, and/or organic or inorganic constituents. A company or country shipping these items would have to have prior consent before exporting the materials. As of 2007, consent for the shipment of waste is received by Dublin City Council.

  • Red List:

This includes reasonably hazardous materials. These materials contain principally organic or inorganic constituents, which include polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs).

Marine debris[]

Marine debris on the Hawaiian coast. Author: NOAA.

Marine debris, also known as marine litter, is human-created waste that has deliberately or accidentally been released in a lake, sea, ocean or waterway. Floating oceanic debris tends to accumulate at the center of gyres and on coastlines, frequently washing aground, when it is known as beach litter or tidewrack. Deliberate disposal of wastes at sea is called ocean dumping. Naturally occurring debris, such as driftwood, are also present.

With the increasing use of plastic, human influence has become an issue as many types of plastics do not biodegrade. Waterborne plastic poses a serious threat to fish, seabirds, marine reptiles, and marine mammals, as well as to boats and coasts. Dumping, container spillages, litter washed into storm drains and waterways and wind-blown landfill waste all contribute to this problem.

In efforts to prevent and mediate marine debris and pollutants, laws and policies have been adopted internationally. Depending on relevance to the issues and various levels of contribution, some countries have introduced more specified protection policies.

Ocean dumping[]

Ocean dumping is the shipment of waste from country to country can also involve dumping waste into the ocean. Ocean dumping has been a problem since the 19th century. It was legal to dump industrial waste into the ocean until the Ocean Dumping Act was passed in 1972. During the years of 1970 and 1980 alone, it was estimated that 25 million tons of waste including scrap metal, chemicals, and acids were dumped into the ocean. Ocean dumping can lead to eutrophication which depletes the oxygen from the water, in turn killing marine life. Ocean dumping is placed into three lists: Gray List, Black List, and White List.

  1. Gray List:

Water is highly contaminated and toxic on the gray list. Some of the contaminants include arsenic, lead, acids, nickel, chromium, scrap metals, and radioactive materials.

  1. Black List:

The materials listed on the black list include mercury, cadmium, plastic, oil products, radioactive waste, and anything that is solely made for biological and chemical warfare. The materials on this list are highly potent and hazardous.

  1. White List:

The white list contains every other material not already mentioned in the above lists. This list is used to make sure nothing will be dumped into the ocean and disturb or damage the coral reef ecosystems.

The most recent example of hazardous waste being dumped into the ocean occurred along Côte d'Ivoire in Africa in 2006. Hundreds of tons of waste product were dumped into the ocean from a ship by the name of Probo Koala. The ship was chartered by an international oil trader in the Netherlands. The incident precipitated a health crisis and impacted the health of 100 000 people in the vicinity. The oil trader (Trafigura) paid 200 million dollars to help with cleanup. The owner of the local company that was responsible for disposing the chemicals in various places was given 20 years in jail.

In the European Union, new regulations on the shipment of hazardous and non-hazardous materials were implemented in 2007. According to the new regulations, the EU will no longer be able to export their hazardous wastes to developing countries that do not have the capabilities to deal with the waste in an environmentally friendly way. E-waste, such as computers, cannot be shipped to countries that are not in the EU or the European Free Trade Association. States and countries that are members of the EU or EFTA must conduct inspections periodically to make sure that all regulations are being followed and physically check containers to verify that the containers hold only what is authorized. Finally, if the country that is taking the waste is unable to accept or dispose of the waste then the sender must pay to take their waste back.

In 1968, the National Academy of Sciences estimated annual volumes of ocean dumping by vessel or pipes:

  1. 100 million tons of petroleum products;
  2. two to four million tons of acid chemical wastes from pulp mills;
  3. more than one million tons of heavy metals in industrial wastes; and
  4. more than 100,000 tons of organic chemical wastes.

A 1970 Report to the President from the Council on Environmental Quality on ocean dumping described that in 1968 the following were dumped in the ocean in the United States:

  1. 38 million tons of dredged material (34 percent of which was polluted),
  2. 4.5 million tons of industrial wastes,
  3. 4.5 million tons of sewage sludge (significantly contaminated with heavy metals), and
  4. 0.5 million tons of construction and demolition debris.

EPA records indicate that more than 55,000 containers of radioactive wastes were dumped at three ocean sites in the Pacific Ocean between 1946 and 1970.

Almost 34,000 containers of radioactive wastes were dumped at three ocean sites off the East Coast of the United States from 1951 to 1962.

Ship dismantling[]

Ship dismantling is another form of trans frontier waste that is shipped from country to country. Many ships are broken down into parts that can be recycled. Many parts of the ships are hazardous and can potentially pollute the areas that they are broken down in. The ship parts can contain asbestos, PCB's, and oil sludge. All of these components can be a potential health risk and harm the environment. Most ship scrapping industries are in developing countries where the laws (environmentally as well as occupationally) are not as strict as in developed countries. International Maritime Organization states that India is the leader in ship dismantling, followed by China, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The aircraft carrier Clemenceau was denied access to Indian waters because it contained asbestos. The French aircraft was carried from France to Britain to be recycled on February 8, 2009 despite the abundance of asbestos.

The EU Commission proposed improvements to be made to improve the ship dismantling as well as the ocean dumping process on November 19, 2008. Public consultations were held in 2009, and stakeholder workshops were organized between 2009 and 2011. On March 26, 2009, the EU Parliament adopted a resolution on the Communication that was adopted by the Commission on October 21, 2009.

The European Council’s Conclusions endorse the Hong Kong Convention on environmentally responsible ship recycling, adopted in May 2009. According to the International Maritime Organization, he Hong Kong Convention

“intends to address all the issues around ship recycling, including the fact that ships sold for scrapping may contain environmentally hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, ozone-depleting substances and others. It also addresses concerns raised about the working and environmental conditions at many of the world's ship recycling locations.”

Ship breaking or ship demolition is a type of ship disposal involving the breaking up of ships for either a source of parts, which can be sold for re-use, or for the extraction of raw materials, chiefly scrap. It may also be known as ship dismantling, ship cracking, or ship recycling. Modern ships have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years before corrosion, metal fatigue and a lack of parts render them uneconomical to run. Ship breaking allows the materials from the ship, especially steel, to be recycled and made into new products. This lowers the demand for mined iron ore and reduces energy use in the steelmaking process. Equipment on board the vessel can also be reused. While ship breaking is sustainable, there are concerns about the use of poorer countries without stringent environmental legislation. It is also considered one of the world's most dangerous industries and very labour-intensive.

In 2012, roughly 1,250 ocean ships were broken down, and their average age was 26 years. In 2013, the world total of demolished ships amounted to 29,052,000 tonnes, 92% of which were demolished in Asia. India, Bangladesh, China and Pakistan have the highest market share and are global centres of ship breaking, with Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard in Bangladesh, Alang in India and Gadani in Pakistan being the largest ships' graveyards in the world. The largest sources of ships are states of China, Greece and Germany respectively, although there is a greater variation in the source of carriers versus their disposal. The ship breaking yards of India, Bangladesh, China and Pakistan employ 100,000 workers as well as providing a large amount of indirect jobs. In Bangladesh, the recycled steel covers 20% of the country's needs and in India it is almost 10%.

As an alternative to ship breaking, ships may be sunk to create artificial reefs after being cleared of hazardous materials, or sunk in deep ocean waters. Storage is a viable temporary option, whether on land or afloat, though all ships will be eventually scrapped, sunk, or preserved for museums.

Environmental racism[]

Environmental racism is a term used to describe environmental injustice within a racialized context. In some Western nations, environmental racism refers to socially marginalized racial minority communities which are subjected to disproportionate exposure of pollutants, the denial of access to sources of ecological benefits (such as clean air, water, and natural resources), or both. Within an international context, environmental marginalization may apply to disadvantaged ecological relationships between industrialized nations and the Global South, and is often associated with colonialism, neoliberalism, and globalization. Instances of environmental racism can include exposure to toxic waste, flooding, pollution from heavy industrial, over fishing or natural resource extraction developments, lack of utilities such as clean water, or exclusion from land management and natural resource-related decision making.

Historically, the term is tied to the environmental justice social movement that began in the 1970s and 1980s in the United States. There is discourse on environmental racism in the U.S. among progressive academics and climate advocacy groups who focus on cases from other countries. Environmental justice is just the movement that was created in order to help stop environmental racism from starting.

Although environmental racism has been historically tied to the environmental justice, throughout the years the term has dissociated more and more from the environmental justice movement. Since environmental racism is dissociating more from the environmental justice movement and one of the reasons for that is due to the non-acknowledgement of environmental racism occurring in the first place.

On the international level, policies that have been described as environmentally racist include corporations exporting dirty technologies, dangerous chemicals or waste materials banned by domestic laws to developing countries, with lax environmental policies and safety practices (pollution havens).

Pollution havens[]

The pollution haven hypothesis posits that, when large industrialized nations seek to set up factories or offices abroad, they will often look for the cheapest option in terms of resources and labor that offers the land and material access they require. However, this often comes at the cost of environmentally sound practices. Developing nations with cheap resources and labor tend to have less stringent environmental regulations, and conversely, nations with stricter environmental regulations become more expensive for companies as a result of the costs associated with meeting these standards. Thus, companies that choose to physically invest in foreign countries tend to (re)locate to the countries with the lowest environmental standards or weakest enforcement.

Three scales of the hypothesis[]

  1. Pollution control costs have an impact at the margins, where they exert some effect on investment decisions and trade flows.
  2. Pollution control costs are important enough to measurably influence trade and investment.
  3. Countries set their environmental standards below socially-efficient levels in order to attract investment or to promote their exports.

Scales 1 and 2 have empirical support, but the significance of the hypothesis relative to other investment and trade factors is still controversial. One study found that environmental regulations have a strong negative effect on a country's FDI, particularly in pollution-intensive industries when measured by employment. However, that same study found that the environmental regulations present in a country's neighbors have an insignificant impact on that country's trade flows.

The event[]

Early cases[]

Nouadhibou in Maruitania was used for the informal dumping of French war ships since 1920.

United States passed its first anti-trade dumping (selling unrealistically cheap goods abroad) statutes in 1921, but it's first overseas refuse\junk dumping (dishonestly or forcibly depositing refuse on another nation's land, sea or air) law in 1946. The 1946 law concerned the then small scale coastal rubbish dumping in southern Canadian coastal fishing waters.

Tanks left over from World War 2 in Libya[]

The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled one of the world's poorest nations to establish an extremely wealthy state. Although oil drastically improved the Libyan government's finances, resentment among some factions began to build over the increased concentration of the nation's wealth in the hands of King Idris.

Prior to the oil industry, Libya had exported a few minor agricultural products, some fish, a special papyrus paper for then Arab banknotes and scrapped tank wrecks from WW2. A handfull of the tanks were rebuilt and entred Libyan army service in the early 1950s.

Late 1960s and 1970s[]

Some tyres, metals, soiled and contaminated paper, contaminated cardboard, plastic and wood were being legally and illegally dumped in W. Africa on a minor basis and some nations's coastal settlements were informally salvaging useful scrap from it during the late 1960s. State sponsored disposal and yet more informal salvaging occurred in the 1970s in several places, with formal contracts being singed between the dumping and dumped on nations in the late 1970s. Many of the dumped containers and shipping contract documentation were carefully marked to trick the naive West Africans in to having stuff they did not want or need, for example it would say "paper" on the sea-containers and documents, yet the cargo in question was actually a load of asbestos!

Legitimate waste disposal and ship breaking started to occur in the nations of the Persian Gulf, in about the late 1970s to 1980s. Nouadhibou has become a popular illigal dumpng ground for ships by the early 1970s.

The cleaning of ships crude\refined oil cargo tanks, wast bins,, food compactors and fuel oil tanks on the fly whilst out at sea had become a major issue during the late 1970s and would be heavily restricted in coastal waters by international law during the early 1980s.

The 1980s 'African dumping crisis'[]

Whilst legitimate waste disposal and ship breaking occurred in the nations of the Persian Gulf, much junk and industrial waste was off-loaded or dumped in the coastal waters of Africa without the nations' concent.

Nouadhibou would start a legal ship breaking trade on both new and the earlyer abandoned ships in the early 1980s.

Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Liberia all were, and with the exception of Sierra Leone, still are blighted by it. It has caused catastrophic environmental degradation in many coastal places. Dumping was aso starting up in Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola, Kenya, Namibia, Algeria and Morocco. Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola, Kenya and Namibia would still be victims of smaller amounts after 2000.

The ship Karin B. was an Italian owned vessel that carried 2,100 tons of industrial waste from Italy to Nigeria. It's voyage lasted from July 30th to 3rd September, 1988. The Karin B. sailed from France but was refused entry in Belgium, W. Germany, France, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Spain, UK and Italy. It finally of loaded in Italy and 5 of the crew sought medical help in France a few days elderly due to mild chemical fume poisoning from the cargo, which may have included PCs Nigeria did no have the desire or ability to handle. W. Germany had sent the Deep Sea Carrier out a few days later on the same route and faced the same outcome for it's joint Italian\W. German cargo. Another unnamed vessel was refused entry in to Turkey at the time and returned to W. Germany. Italy hired the Syrian ship Zanoobia, but had to take the junk back after Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, the TNC, Greece, Albania and Turkey refused to have it.

  1. Name= Karin B.
  2. Owner= Italy or W. Germany (?).
  3. Flag= W. Germany.
  4. Home port= Le Havre (?).
  5. Junk\chemicals owned by= Italy.
  1. Name= Zanoobia.
  2. Owner= Syria.
  3. Flag= Syria (?).
  4. Home port= Tartus (?).
  5. Junk\chemicals owned by= Italy.
  1. Name= Deep See Carrier.
  2. Owner= W. Germany.
  3. Flag= W. Germany (?).
  4. Home port= N\A in Germany (?).
  5. Junk\chemicals owned by= Italy\W. Germany.

1990s to 2000s[]

A ban on the toxic waste trade between the industrialised and less-industrialised countries within the context of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and Its Disposal in 1994.

The 2006 Ivory Coast toxic waste dump was a health crisis in Ivory Coast in which a ship registered in Panama, the Probo Koala, chartered by the Singaporean-based oil and commodity shipping company Trafigura Beheer BV, offloaded toxic waste to an Ivorian waste handling company which disposed of it at the port of Abidjan. The local contractor, a company called Tommy, dumped the waste at 12 sites in and around the city in August 2006. The dumping, which took place against a backdrop of instability in Abidjan as a result of Côte d'Ivoire's first civil war, allegedly led to the death of 17 and the injury of 30,000.

In the days after the dumping, almost 100,000 Ivorians sought medical attention after Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny opened the hospitals and offered free healthcare to the capital's residents.

Trafigura originally planned to dispose of the slops – which resulted from cleaning the vessel and contained 500 tonnes of a mixture of fuel, caustic soda, and hydrogen sulfide – at the port of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The company refused to pay Dutch company Amsterdam Port Services (APS) for disposal after APS raised its charge from €27 to €1,000 per cubic meter. The Probo Koala was reportedly turned away by several countries before offloading the toxic waste at the Port of Abidjan. An inquiry in the Netherlands in late 2006 confirmed the composition of the waste substance.

Trafigura denied any waste was transported from the Netherlands, saying that the substances contained only tiny amounts of hydrogen sulfide, and that the company did not know the substance was to be disposed of improperly. After two Trafigura officials who traveled to Côte d'Ivoire to offer assistance were arrested and subsequently attacked in jail, the company paid US$198 million for cleanup to the Ivorian government, without admitting wrongdoing in early 2007. A series of protests and resignations of Ivorian government officials followed this deal.

In 2008, a civil lawsuit in London was launched by almost 30,000 Ivorians against Trafigura. In May 2009, Trafigura announced it would sue the BBC for libel after its Newsnight program alleged the company had knowingly sought to cover up its role in the incident. In September 2009 The Guardian obtained and published internal Trafigura emails showing that the traders responsible knew how dangerous the chemicals were. Trafigura agreed to a settlement of £30 million (US$42.4 million) to settle the class action suit against it. Law firm Leigh Day, which represented the Ivorian claimants, was found guilty of negligence after £6 million of the settlement funds were embezzled.

2010 and onwards[]

It is now processed willingly or not, in places like Agbogbloshie, Ghana.

Other places are being duped on without concent. It has reportedly occurred in Angola, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Morocco, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia and Iran.

New report says 41 million metric tonnes of electronic waste worth a staggering £34 billion was discarded in 2014.

The 'Ndrangheta[]

The 'Ndrangheta, a criminal organization from Calabria (Italy) has been involved in radioactive waste dumping since the 1980s. Ships with toxic and radioactive waste were sunk off the Italian coast. In addition, vessels were allegedly sent to Somalia and other developing countries with toxic waste, including radioactive waste cargoes, which were either sunk with the ship or buried on land. The introduction of more rigorous environmental legislation in the 1980s made illegal waste dumping a lucrative business for organized crime groups in Italy.

A 1995 parliamentary waste commission report spoke of the "possible existence of national and international trafficking in radioactive waste, managed by business and criminal lobbies, which are believed to operate also with the approval of institutional subjects belonging to countries and governments of the European Union and outside the EU." Its conclusions noted "interferences and threats" against investigators, and were critical of ENEA, Italy's state energy research agency, and their management of nuclear waste.

The final fate of the Zanoobia, Karin B. and Deep Sea Carrier[]

Karin B.[]

It is a ship that looks like it's of the same class, dose the same job, was made at an appropriate time and place, had the same name at one point and has had it's history largely blanked out up to a few months before it's Australian incident.

It was in trouble again on the morning of Saturday 19 October 1996, when the by then Antigua and Barbuda flag cargo vessel entered Corner Basin in Victoria, bound for Esso Australia Limited's private terminal at Barry Beach. It ran aground in a routine and minor grounding incident as it turn from Toora Channel into the dredged Barry Beach Channel. It was pulled free by the Aussie vessel Lady Valesia. It had departed from Houston, Texas.

  1. IMO: 8215596
  2. Call Sign: 3EYE6
  3. Flag: Panama [PA]
  4. AIS Vessel Type: Cargo
  5. Gross Tonnage: 2649
  6. Deadweight: 3525 t
  7. Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 90.4m × 14.03m
  8. Year Built: 1983
  9. Status: Decommissioned or Lost. Last flagged in Panama as the El Capi.
  10. Vessel type: General CargoGeneral cargo ships built 1980-1989 (Under 3000gt)
  11. Gross tonnage: 2,649 tons
  12. Summer DWT: 3,525 tons
  13. IMO number : 8215596
  14. Name of ship : EL CAPI (since 01-12-2010)
  15. Call Sign : 3EYE6
  16. MMSI : 351614000
  17. Gross tonnage : 2,649 (during 1983)
  18. DWT : 3525
  19. Type of ship : General Cargo Ship (during 1983)
  20. Year of build : 1983
  21. Flag : Panama (since 01-10-2010)
  22. Broken up 06/12
  23. Maker Andra Germany
  24. 1983 H. Brand Oldenburg # 215
  25. Keel laid 14/4/82
  26. Launched 6/8/83
  27. 1494gr 3260dwt
  28. 90m x 14m
  29. 14kns
  • Vessel names:
  1. Name: El Capi
  2. IMO: 8215596
  3. Former name(s):
    1. - Sea Runner (Until 2010 Dec)
    2. - Andra (Until 2007 Mar)
    3. - Enno B (Until 2003 Dec)
    4. - Torm Assinie (Until 1998 Dec)
    5. - Enno B (Until 1998 Apr)
    6. - Karin B (Until 1998)
    7. - Marina Heeren (Until 1996 Feb)
  • Note:1983-1996 history is largely unavailable!


No major data exists on the ship!

  1. Name= Zanoobia.
  2. Owner= Syria.
  3. Flag= Syria (?).
  4. Home port= Tartus (?).
  5. Made in= 1980.
  6. Fate unknown.
  • Note: it is not to be confused with the non-toxic Swedish Ro-Ro ferry, MS Zenobia, that sunk of the coast of Cyprus as it was carrying 108 lorries full of food to Syria in 1980!

Deep Sea Carrier[]


Also see[]

  1. Pollution
  2. Pollution in Africa


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  267. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gfYnPfgVk1UC&pg=PA28&lpg=PA28&dq=ship+Karin+B&source=bl&ots=MmqyImafP5&sig=wj7tMVZmT2GkCL_0yTEjeFL8qAo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiexuaNlvfYAhWhI8AKHezoDJwQ6AEIWTAL#v=onepage&q=ship%20Karin%20B&f=false