Thursday, 30 September 2010

Trafigura: Reputation Management

Still Trafigura refuse to acknowledge my emails.  This seems to me to be a strange method of reputation management but they employ the best experts and so I guess I must be wrong.

What can I do to enhance my reputation?

Don’t answer questions.

Don’t answer emails.

The only people who matter are your current and potential customers.

The general public are just that: very general, gullible and easily led astray.

If you have done something wrong or illegal, which I am sure you haven’t, you haven’t done anything wrong or illegal until found guilty in court and, even then, you can continue to deny guilt until your appeal is heard and thereafter, if the appeal is lost, you can continue to deny your guilt by claiming that the decision was driven by national political considerations and by the massive and massively unfair campaign waged against you by politicians, the media, the environmental lobby and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.  [Phew, an 89 word sentence!]

Aren’t Trafigura lucky that, instead of me, they have Bell-Pottinger and Carter-Ruck to manage their reputation.  They would never suggest any of the above 5 points.

I suppose if you pay the best rates you get the best advice and I am paid nowt.

Car Fetishist?

I posted a couple of days ago about my car possibly needing a brain transplant and yesterday about it/her being in hospital for more observation.

Well the hospital are still doing tests before they let her home but I’m getting concerned that a car nurse has formed an unnatural relationship with her.  I’ve called my car it or her but possibly she is a him!

The male car nurse is taking my car home tonight ostensibly so that he can observe it/her/him over a longer period of time …..  but I have my doubts!

When I phoned the hospital a few minutes ago I was told that the exhaust back box was blown.  I don’t know if this is a fault or an assault. 

Tomorrow I need to question the hospital and the nurse very carefully.

I’ll let you know what I discover.

Music in the Morning - Thursday

The fabulous Diana Krall sings, plays and cries.

Cry Me a River                                                     Diana Krall

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Update to Music in the Morning - Kate Voegele

UPDATE AT 21.50 29 Sept 2010: 

The original post showed a video of Kate Voegele singing “Forever and Almost Always”.

This video may be about to disappear.  I’ve had a comment from Germany saying that this UMG content wasn’t available there and 20 mins ago United Music Group – clearly UMG – visited the post. 

Apologies to all if this happens and to UMG if I have, unknowingly infringed their copyright. 

I will keep the video up until it disappears or until I hear from UMG.

Car in Observation

Early yesterday morning the ambulance arrived to take my car to hospital for diagnostic tests after becoming terribly confused (my car, that is, and not the ambulance – actually the AA).  I had expected that she (car) would be carried in the ambulance but only her front legs were lifted and she had to run along behind.  Poor soul!

After spending sometime in Combined Assessment, the car was kept in overnight for additional tests this morning.  Although faults were found in her memory she performed perfectly in comprehension tests.  One more long test is due this afternoon after which the decision will be made. The most likely options are no further action with release back into my care or, god forbid, a brain transplant.

I hope an operation isn’t due now but I worry that the problems will recur with possibly fatal consequences later.


Wish her - and me – luck.

Music in the Morning - Wednesday

A young and talented singer songwriter today who I found only 15 mins ago.  Enjoy Kate Voegele.

Forever and Almost Always                           Kate Voegele

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Music in the Morning - Tuesday

Singer, songwriter and cellist – although the cello remains asleep – Caroline Lavelle.  Close your eyes and swim.

Turning Ground                                          Caroline Lavelle

Monday, 27 September 2010

Car Needs Brain Transplant

Wonder if I’ll get a cut-price deal if I can get one at the same time.

The symptoms seem very similar:

Starts OK but loses power after a few minutes.

No motivation: can’t rev engine when in neutral.

Having lost power can drive in reverse OK but forward impossible.

Battery doesn’t charge but then miraculously appears charged only to falter again within a few minutes.


The AA are taking the car into the garage tomorrow.  I wonder if they’ll drop me off at the hospital.

Music in the Morning - Monday

A never-ending name but, unfortunately, the music does.

Vivaldi: Concerto in tromba marina, for 2 violins, 2 recorders, 2 mandolins, 2 chalumeaux, 2 theorbos, cello, strings & continuo in C major, RV 558  1st Movement: Allegro Molto

Fabio Biondi conducts Europa Galante

Trafigura: Press Office Closed?

Is this the reason I get no replies to my emails?

I have just checked the Trafigura website and under “Our News”, other than two notes in July which are listed under “Probo Koala Updates”, there has been no news since 31 March 2010. 

Has nothing happened in a few days under 6 months that is worthy of flagging up?

Has there been news but there is no-one to put it online?

Has there Press Office been closed?


Is there anyone in?

We need to know what is happening at one of the UK’s favourite companies!

Tell us now!  


Sunday, 26 September 2010

Carter-Ruck and Scientology

I was reading an article on the BBC website previewing an upcoming, and second, Panorama programme on Scientology [BBC1 Tues 28 Sept  9pm and thereafter on iPlayer].

In 2007, John Sweeney was the interviewer on the first programme. 

He said in the article,

“I never meant to shout.

Strangers had been on my tail. Scientologist Tommy Davis and his colleague Mike Rinder - my handlers - had been on my case, day in and day out.

They had taken me to an exhibit called 'Psychiatry: Industry of Death' on Hollywood Boulevard, where a Scientologist told me psychiatrists set up the Holocaust. I feared I was being brain-washed.

And then I lost it - big time.”


Sweeney continues

“Shortly after that programme, Scientology & Me, aired in 2007, I received a tip-off that Mike Rinder had left the church.

Three years on and my old adversary came to me to shed some light on what had been going on behind the scenes in the days leading up to my infamous meltdown and screaming session in Los Angeles.

Now an independent Scientologist, Mike is critical of the church and of its leader David Miscavige, who was actor Tom Cruise's best man at his wedding to Katie Holmes.

Mike, 55, wanted to meet and talk about his life in the church, which he was a part of from the age of six.

He began by telling me about the moment when he decided to get out: "I knew as I was walking out - that was the last time I would ever talk to my wife, my children, the rest of my family. I couldn't take it anymore. When I left I felt I had been freed."

Mike was subjected to what the church calls disconnection. His wife, daughter, son, brother and mother have cut him out of their lives.”

In the 2020 interview, Rinder acknowledges that Sweeney had been followed by members of the Church/cult [choose whichever word with which you are most comfortable] of Scientology, actions which were denied in 2007 and again now.

Sweeney talked to several former members of the Church/cult and again he was followed and filmed.

Where do Carter-Ruck come into this?

They are the lawyers of Scientology UK and they, Carter-Ruck, deny that Sweeney was followed in 2007 but they also sent to the BBC photographs of Sweeney hugging ex-member, Amy Scobee at the end of what Sweeney describes as “a long and at times harrowing series of interviews about her experiences” for the upcoming programme.

Sweeney claims that this was done to show BBC bosses that he was biased against Scientology.  For his part, Sweeney is pleased because the fact of having photographs means that the Church/cult of Scientology were following him.

“Where there’s brass there’s muck”

I can never remember which way round this saying goes!

Trafigura: “The Stinking Ship”

“The Stinking Ship” are not my words but the title of a film.   

Film-maker, Bagassi Koura, sent me a link to the film’s website,, where a 3m31s trailer of his 26 min film is viewable. [Update: the original trailer is no longer available but a 2m 56s clip can be viewed.]

During October the film is being screened twice at festivals in the US.  Unfortunately, there is no information about how else the film is accessible but I have emailed Bagassi to see what options there are for those of us - most - who cannot attend either of the two screenings.

In the mean time I have worked out how to embed a Vimeo video and so here is the trailer.

Many thanks are due to Bagassi for letting me know about his film and, more importantly, for making the film.

Finally, I must also mention that the opinions expressed in the trailer and film are entirely those of the film-maker and contributors.

Sunday Morning Coffee with Johnny Cash

Hello and welcome to this week’s special show which features one of the most influential figures in popular music in my lifetime. 

Quite a few shows have been of artists I’ve found only recently but today is very different.  I was introduced to Johnny by my brother in the mid- to late sixties and although I drifted away a re-listening was all I needed to be back in love with his music again.

I haven’t made any attempt to cover his career rather I’ve chosen songs I have loved for years with a few more recent additions.

If you don’t know the routine by now then, get a big coffee, a comfy seat but make sure you have room to stand, sing and dance.



Ready?  Then here we go and we start in his normal way.

Folsom Prison Blues

Wow!  Now I’m in the mood.



The show run time is about normal at 45 mins but I’ve crammed in 14 videos so there’s lots of magical music to come and we move on with another great.  Och, they’re all great!

I Walk the Line

I’m opting out of commenting.  You don’t need me.


Johnny was born in 1932 in Arkansas and left us in 2003.  In fact, Johnny wasn’t christened ‘Johnny’ but ‘J. R.’ because his parents could agree on the initials but not the names.  The air force wouldn’t accept initials as names and so he took ‘Johnny R Cash’ as his legal name.



I dare you to sit still now.

Orange Blossom Special                       (1969 San Quentin prison)


JR’s early life was difficult: when he was three his family moved to farm 20 acres for cotton.

"The entire family, my parents, two brothers and two sisters spent the first night in the truck under a tarpaulin" Cash once said about his family's move to Dyess. "The last thing I remember before going to sleep was my mother beating time on the old Sears-Roebuck guitar, singing 'What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul."

“It wasn't always an easy life, Cash would later recall. At the age of 10 he was hauling water for a road gang and at 12 years old he was moving large sacks of cotton.



Let’s not hang about and we continue with Johnny singing one of Kris Kristofferson’s many great songs.

Sunday Morning Coming Down


I didn’t know that Cash was a Christian.  Wikipedia states,

‘Cash, a devout but troubled Christian,has been characterized "as a lens through which to view American contradictions and challenges."  A Biblical scholar, he penned a Christian novel entitled Man In White, and he made a spoken word recording of the entire New King James Version of the New Testament.  Even so, Cash declared that he was "the biggest sinner of them all", and viewed himself overall as a complicated and contradictory man.’

Dave Urbanski writes,

“Years after his return to the land of the living [after his recovery from drug addiction], Cash once got a visit from U2 members Bono and Adam Clayton who were driving across the U.S., taking in the local colors. The three of them sat around a table before their meal, and Cash floored the two Irishmen with an incredible prayer of thanksgiving to God. Then, without skipping a beat, he raised his head and quipped, "Sure miss the drugs, though."



This song I hadn’t heard before. An incredibly, moving song by the Nine Inch Nails which Johnny recorded not long before he died.


I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that's real
the needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting
try to kill it all away
but I remember everything
what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt

I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
upon my liar's chair
full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
beneath the stains of time
the feelings disappear
you are someone else
I am still right here

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt

I will let you down
I will make you hurt

if I could start again
a million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way


Johnny married twice, firstly to Vivian Liberto in 1954 with whom he had 4 daughters including Roseanne who is now an established star.  His drug / alcohol abuse and his affairs brought Liberto to divorce him in 1966.

Cash and June Carter married in 1968 and they sang together for 35 years until June’s death.



The sixth track is a 1969 recording from San Quentin prison.

A Boy Named Sue                             (1969 San Quentin prison)


Wikipedia describes Cash’s life spiralling downwards,

“As his career was taking off in the early 1960s, Cash started drinking heavily and became addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates. For a brief time, he shared an apartment in Nashville with Waylon Jennings, who was heavily addicted to amphetamines. Cash used the uppers to stay awake during tours. Friends joked about his "nervousness" and erratic behavior, many ignoring the warning signs of his worsening drug addiction. In a behind-the-scenes look at The Johnny Cash Show, Cash claims to have "tried every drug there was to try."


In June 1965, his truck caught fire due to an overheated wheel bearing, triggering a forest fire that burned several hundred acres in Los Padres National Forest in California.  When the judge asked Cash why he did it, Cash said, "I didn't do it, my truck did, and it's dead, so you can't question it." The fire destroyed 508 acres, burning the foliage off three mountains and killing 49 of the refuge's 53 endangered condors. Cash was unrepentant: "I don't care about your damn yellow buzzards." The federal government sued him and was awarded $125,172 ($863,091 in current dollar terms). Cash eventually settled the case and paid $82,001. He said he was the only person ever sued by the government for starting a forest fire.”



We reach the halfway point with an explanation.

The Man in Black


There’s lots of music and greatness to come but we’ll have short break now so that you can stretch your legs – if you’re as old as I – and get a coffee top-up.

When you’re ready again we’ll restart.


Despite his wild ways Cash never served a jail sentence although he did spend a single night in jail after each of several arrests.


San Quentin



No break here: straight on with another great.

Cocaine Blues


Here is some useless information from to Wikipedia,

“Cash was of Scottish royal descent, however learned this only upon researching his ancestry.  After the opportunity of meeting with former Falkland, Fife laird, Major Michael Crichton-Stuart, he traced the Cash family tree to 11th-century Fife, Scotland.  Scotland's Cash Loch bears the name of his family. He had believed in his younger days that he was mainly Irish and partially Native American, including Cherokee and Choctaw. Though Cash learned he was not of Native American descent, his empathy and compassion for Native Americans was unabated.”

I’ve managed to find Cash Loch on a map and it is a tiny loch  - about 150 yards long by 40 yards wide at its widest. 



Leonard Cohen makes his presence felt now as Cash sings one of his songs.

Like a Bird on a Wire



Again we move straight on with a duet with Satchmo.

Blue Yodel No. 9 with Louis Armstrong



There are only three songs to go: two of them are long-time classics but the other is an intensely moving prayer to God.  

First up is one of his classics.

Ring of Fire


June Carter died in May 2003 and a few months later – September 12 -  Johnny died from complications from diabetes.



I hadn’t heard this next song before this week but I found it incredible.  He sounds like a man, he may have been a man, with little time to live for whom the prayer means everything.

Help me, Lord


At his last ever public concert Johnny said this about his late wife, June Carter.

The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has.”

With this in mind this show finishes with June and Johnny together again.  Johnny introduces the song with

“I always sing this song for June Carter.”


Jackson                                                       with June Carter


Thank you for sharing this show with me. 

In life he may have been a contradiction but in music Johnny Cash was only a great star.

Thank you, Johnny, for leaving such a rich legacy.

You will be remembered!


Remember to pop over next week.  I’ll be here waiting for you.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Too Good to Last? - Two

Only 29 more games before my team is promoted to the Scottish Premier League!


Still definitely too good to last!

Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen - Post Exploded

Suddenly last night my Sunday Morning Coffee show with Niels has seen huge – for me – viewing stats.

The last 8 hours I’ve had more than six times my normal day’s visitors.

Have I done something right?




Thank you, Niels!

Music in the Morning - Saturday

This morning a beautiful Irish song but one which can inflame tensions within different “communities”.  I mean nothing other than to showcase beauty. 

Within the chorus you may make out some Republican chanting but I find it difficult to pick up. I hope you do too.


Fields of Athenry                                              The Dubliners

Friday, 24 September 2010

Trafigura: How Journalists Broke the Story - Video

To my shame I have JUST watched a video entitled

The Inside Story of Trafigura – Old and New Methods
With David Leigh, Investigations Editor at the Guardian, and Paul Farrelly MP
How a combination methods – parliamentary privilege (old-fashioned), cross-border co-operation (innovative) and the internet (new-fangled) – were used to defeat cover-ups by lobbyists and lawyers, and expose the scientific facts

Their talk lasts about 30 mins with 30 mins of questions.

As far as I can see this video is only available at The Centre for Investigative Journalism – click here.

They use words I use but wouldn’t dream of using in this context.


This is essential viewing if you are interested in the Trafigura story, journalism and its difficulties with the UK libel laws.

Phew, Now I Can Relax for a Few Days

No!  Nothing major has happened to ease my burdens but I can relax today and tomorrow.

For weeks now I’ve been writing “Sunday Morning Coffee” late on Saturday nights for posting a few hours later at midnight.

Phew!  Next Sunday’s show is in the can and, if I may be so bold, it is a CRACKER!

An all-time great ………….. but you’ll need to wait until midnight on Saturday night / Sunday morning to find out who!

Music in the Morning - Friday

Stand Bach for magic.

Bach: Sinfonia, Oster-Oratorium BWV 249

[Collegium Vocale, Gent   Philippe Herreweghe (conductor)]

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Trafigura Guilty: Partial Translation of Court Decision

Last week I posted extracts from an article from the International Law Office with details of the Dutch court’s decision.  Tonight I include a translation of the relevant part of the court’s decision.

I realise that this may be of interest only to ‘anoraks’ but I believe it important to put as much information as possible into the public domain.

“Finally, Trafigura is charged with violating Section 18 of the European Waste Shipment Regulation (EWSR), for having exported waste from the EU to an ACP [Calum’s note: ACP = Africa, Caribbean, Pacific] country, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). It has been established that the Probo Koala sailed, with waste on board, from the Netherlands via Estonia, Togo and Nigeria to Côte d’Ivoire, where the slops were offloaded on land.

According to Trafigura, the slops do not fall under the operation of the EWSR. It asserts that the waste was the product of the normal operation of ships. The EWSR does not apply to this type of activity.

The Court is however of the opinion that the slops did not originate from the normal operation of a ship. After all, the waste was produced during the washing of petrol aboard the ship, a chemical process that is normally carried out on land in refineries. This has nothing to do with the normal functions of a ship, specifically, that of a means of transport and a means of processing products which are only found at sea. This means that the EWSR does in fact apply to the slops, and that it is thus prohibited to export them from the EU to Africa.

Trafigura has also asserted that it cannot be proven that the slops were exported from the Netherlands to Côte d’Ivoire. According to Trafigura, at the time the vessel departed from Amsterdam, there was not yet a plan in place to transport the slops to Africa.

Furthermore, it asserts that the export to an ACP country was completed at the moment the ship sailed into the territorial waters of the first ACP country, and this was not Côte d’Ivoire.

The Court also rejects these defences.

The purpose of the EWSR is to protect the environment in the EU member states and in the countries outside of the EU. This concept is not compatible with the idea that the export of waste would have been completed once the waste had been transported across the border of an ACP state yet not offloaded. It is this offloading that is relevant here. This took place in Côte d’Ivoire.

The location where this export (which must be considered as a single incident) was started or continued is also relevant. This location was the Netherlands. It is therefore not significant whether or not it was clear at the time of the ship’s departure from the Netherlands that the Probo Koala would ultimately end up offloading the slops in Côte d’Ivoire.

For this reason, the Court deems the violation of Section 10.60 of the Environmental Management Act with which Trafigura has been charged as proven."

I suppose if I were ever in court I would want my lawyer to try every possible angle to win the case …. but then I might just tell the truth.

But ….

What is the truth in the Trafigura affair?

Would I know the truth if I saw it?

On whose side does the truth lie?

Does the truth ever lie?


I don’t know.

I’m confused.

I’m going to bed.

Music in the Morning - Thursday

These following words I wrote when Sunday Morning Coffee featured these players.

We move away from the stars, the incredibly talented, the TV programme and return to where music lives, music belongs: with ordinary people, playing together, passing on tunes and skills, enjoying their music in their own homes.

Clarinet Polka                                    The MountnMonkeys

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Trafigura: Next Dutch Legal Steps

Having been found guilty last July in a Dutch court, Trafigura again finds itself involved in more proceedings.

In September 2009, Greenfeace filed a complaint about the failure to prosecute Trafigura for “serious environmental pollution” in the Ivory Coast.

There the matter remained until 2 weeks ago when the court summoned Trafigura to respond to Greenpeace’s complaint.

The court’s next hearing is on 24 November.

Clumsy’s Art: Skill-less Beauty



Clumsy, only your eyes see the beauty.  Weirdo!

Music in the Morning - Wednesday

Please make space for a beautiful and brilliant American songbird, Neko Case.

I Wish I Was Was the Moon Tonight                 Neko Case

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Trafigura’s Unanswered Questions

There must be countless questions asked of Trafigura which remain unanswered but, in this post, I list only the main ones which have come from me.

I don’t expect Trafigura to answer these questions now but I retain hope that they will do so.

Any information passed on will be received gratefully and, in anticipation, I say here,



24 July

When describing the Probo Koala's waste, Trafigura has described it as being relatively straightforward to dispose of.  For example, the Probo Koala factsheet you posted online 2 days ago contained the two following paragraphs:

“Gasoline washing is a common and legal process that reduces mercaptan levels in gasoline cargoes in order to meet specific contractual obligations.”


“Consequently the port [of Abidjan, Calum’s addition]  is highly experienced in dealing with slops from oil tankers and vessels and in 2006 more than 30,000 tonnes of slops were safely unloaded at Abidjan. Trafigura, as well as other major oil companies, have been operating in the Ivory Coast for decades.”

However, Trafigura emails from December 2005 through to April 2006 describe the waste as being difficult to dispose of and, therefore, as being far from routine.

How does Trafigura reconcile this difference?

I have posted today - - with a description of spent caustic in much more serious tones than used by Trafigura in its factsheet.

“Spent Caustics are the most difficult of all industrial wastes to dispose properly, with the exception of radionuclide wastes.  Since the dawn of petroleum refining, caustic solutions containing sodium hydroxide (common lye) have been used to wash sulfur and other undesirable compounds out of petroleum.  Its use has been in washing crude oils, intermediate fractions, and finished fuels throughout the refining processes.  The result of this washing is the generation of Spent Caustics, also called Waste Caustics and Toxic Wastes.”

“SPENT CAUSTICS are generated from many industrial processes.  Most are generated from the refining of petroleum to remove undesired SULFUR compounds from fuels.

In the refining industry, the net hydrogen sulfide captured in spent caustics is too low for effective sulfur recovery in typical Sulfur Recovery Units (SRU's) employing the common Claus Process, therefore, the spent caustics must be disposed properly.  In addition to the toxic hydrogen sulfide, both toxic mercaptans and phenolics are often captured in spent caustics, severely limiting the disposal options.”


How does Trafigura reconcile this difference?


26 August

More than four months ago you were kind enough to send me a copy of the Summary Report of an environmental audit  produced by WSP.   Unfortunately this contained little detail and little new information and so I asked that you send me copies of the three constituent reports.

-   Works in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Volume 1 – Exploratory Investigation Report, referenced 12024964-001 and dated April 2009;

-   Works in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Volume 2 – A Contextual Assessment, referenced 12024964-002 and dated April 2009; and,

-   Works in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Volume 3 – Follow-up Investigation, referenced 12024964-003 and dated July 2009

That you have not done so baffles me.  Clearly, these reports contain information supportive of your stance and there can be no reason for them not to be made public.  Once again I ask that you forward these three reports to me at this address so that I can put them into the public domain.  You might want to take the different option of making them available on your website.


7 September

I note that Trafigura has for a long time dismissed the Minton Report as a work-in-progress which was soon superseded by the NFI Report which Trafigura claim is the authoritative report on the Probo Koala's waste.

A copy  - in Dutch - is available on the Greenpeace website but the absence of a freely available English version leaves interested parties with only the Minton Report to work from.   Clearly Trafigura has an English version of the NFI Report.  Could you please forward a copy to me at this email address?   I assume that I can make the copy freely available.


12 September

As I try to understand what happened prior to the illegal dumping of the Probo Koala's waste by Compagnie Tommy I have a few questions to which I'd appreciate your answers. After that are some questions about the Vest tank incident.

Abidjan and Waste Disposal Facilities

1.  At the time the Probo Koala docked in Abidjan in 2006 were there actually facilities there capable of accepting and treating the PK's waste in the appropriate way?  I note that the waste was NOT typical of oil tankers but was the residue of on-board caustic washing and as the NFI Report stated the composition of the waste in the slop tanks of the Probo Koala was in accordance with the composition of waste that can be caused by the washing of the naphtha-like fraction from the cracking of an oil refinery with sodium hydroxide.   That waste is very different from that normally generated by/on oil tankers.

2a.  If the answer to Question 1 is 'YES' then

      -  please tell me the name and owner of these facilities?

      -  when did Trafigura or any of its subsidiaries become aware that these facilities could handle the PK's waste?

      -  when did these facilities - i.e. those capable of handling the PK's actual waste - come on stream?

2b.  If the answer to Question 1 is 'NO' then

     -  when, and by whom, was Trafigura told that there were proper facilities?

     -  when was Trafigura or its subsidiaries or associates told that these apparently suitable facilities came on-stream?

3a.  Did the licences and authority of Compagnie Tommy allow it to handle typical oil-tanker generated waste?

3b.  Did the licences and authority of Compagnie Tommy show that it was capable of handling the PK's ACTUAL waste?

3c.  Did Trafigura describe its waste to Compagnie Tommy and the appropriate port authorities accurately?

      -  how did Trafigura describe its waste?

4.   Does Trafigura have anything to add to the notes already available on its website?

Vest tank

I am writing a blogpost based around an article on NRK's website in Norway - - and an interview with Eric de Turckheim.  I assume Mr de Turckheim's comments as more nuanced than those which appear in the article.  The post will appear whether or not Trafigura replied but that I can better reflect the detail of the interview I would appreciate your sending me a transcription of the interview in English. 

I note also that I have received no reply to two recent emails, one requesting copies of the three individual reports produced by WSP and the other asking for an English translation of the NFI Report.



15 September

In mid-June you were kind enough to send me a translated copy of the DACA ruling in the case brought by Greenpeace.  To help me better understand the background to the decision could you send me an English copy of Trafigura's defence to the claims of Greenpeace?



Come on, Trafigura, earn my thanks!

Trafigura: No Answer from Email Correspondent

I await an answer.

In the last week or so I’ve been in furious correspondence - “furious” in terms of the numbers of and not the content of emails – with one who seems to be knowledgeable of the Trafigura affair, very pro-Trafigura,  nothing wrong with that, and very anti- those who seem to be anti-Trafigura.  I hope this makes sense.

There is one question my correspondent is reluctant to answer – has been asked three times.

He said,

"The sweetening of crude oil was relatively new when tried by Trafigura but there were other operations carried out on PROBOs which preceded this which made it clear that such an attempt would be possible." 

I asked,

“That you use "relatively new" suggest(sic) that sweetening was carried out previously on board ship.  What info do you have re this?  Who had done so?  What ship(s)?  What method?   When?  What waste was produced?  Where was the waste disposed of and how?

What other operations were carried out before the PK case?   What ships?  What products?  What process?  What waste?  Where was the waste disposed of and how?”

I assume his statement is true simply because he appears knowledgeable and because I’d hate to think that he was doing otherwise.

I still wait an answer.

Music in the Morning - Tuesday

A strange title for morning music.  Don’t worry though: all you need do is listen to a great song by a great artist.

Midnight Special                                                    Leadbelly

Monday, 20 September 2010


These pictures show an exciting way to visit the Corryvreckan whirlpool, south of Oban – see here.  High speed, bumpy and wet – hence the full wet gear.



We’ve gone on this twice but this year we tried a more sedate method which was more comfy – even got a cup of coffee, time to chat and YC “drove” the boat, much slower but less exciting.

Music in the Morning - Monday

Class lasts forever.

Who Knows Where the Time Goes
                                            Sandy Denny and The Strawbs

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Trafigura and Calum

I have been in email contact with a commenter over my stance vis-a-vis Trafigura.  I’m not going to publish an entire sequence of messages as I did once with Dr Busch.  This time I use only my last email which includes quotes from my commenter’s messages to me.

Why do I do so? Because this may show you why I continue with this story and why I don’t move on to another. If you’re interested then please read on.


The email starts on the next line:

Where to start?

Let's go back to a quote from your second last email.

You said, "I am curious to see why you seem so obsessed with Trafigura." 

I am not obsessed with Trafigura far less being "so obsessed".  In March I posted, "I imagine that there will still be controversy over the validity of Trafigura’s claims about the relative harmlessness of the waste but the focus, I think, will be on their knowledge and intent before the dumping of the waste and on the sweetening of the PMI coker naphtha in Norway and, possibly, elsewhere."  I am still interested in their knowledge and intent before the dumping of the waste.  I believe the full story has not come out yet and as I said in a recent message in this thread, "I will keep probing until more of the truth comes out or until the truth, should it be out already, becomes clear." Are there other important stories I could cover?  Yes!  I choose to restrict myself at the moment because I don't have the resources to delve in depth into another story.

Now let's look at MARPOL  /Basel

I didn't "disavow any interest in MARPOL or Basel" but I did say, "I have no interest in MARPOL or Basel per se [emphasis added]".   The intricacies of the two held no interest in me at all and were it not for Trafigura I would not be interested now.  The distinction between the two is central in Trafigura's case and so I am interested and I want to understand the relevant parts of the two conventions and how they apply to the Probo Koala.


Let's look at a composite sentence from your email,

"Can you see [that] ...  those with a task to perform which requires decision-making and responsibility  ..... can make mistakes or not forsee the consequences of a decision without having some devious or nefarious plan as their guide."

Of course I can.  I know that parenting decisions which I have made in good faith and with forethought may look terribly wrong in hindsight.  There is no difference between these decisions of mine and those made by businesses: others are affected by those decisions.  What is good for me is to be "pulled up every now and again and made to think."  I hope that I would be open to say why I acted as I did and to accept that there was a better decision to be made - if there were.  Unfortunately many businesses appear to hide, or not to admit to, mistakes whether or not they arise from decisions made in good faith.  This is the start of the path to abuse of power.  Some businesses will deliberately abuse their power but I am not putting Trafigura in this place.  They may belong there but I do not know and so I will not place them there.

Whose job is it?

You say, "What makes you think this is your job?".  All of us have a right to highlight mistakes (or alleged mistakes) and potential abuse of power wherever it happens?  If not Joe Public then who will do so?  I assume you do not believe that mistakes or abuse of power should go unreported.  Inevitably Joe Public will have less knowledge and understanding than those in positions of power but that knowledge can only be gained by enquiry.  I enquire.    Does it matter that a particular Joe may have a preconceived idea of whether or not a mistake has been made?  No provided that the the evidence is judged on its merits.   That is what I try to do.


"For some reason you link power with abuse and feel obliged to try to 'punish' or 'expose' it"

Is there a link?  Yes, but not in the way you suppose.  Abuse can only be caused by those who have some power over another.  Does this mean that all with power abuse it deliberately?  No!  Does this mean that I want to expose or punish those with power?  No!  Do I want to expose those who deliberately abuse power?  YES! 


"petulant, arrogant and juvenile"

Those who use their power well, who admit that some decisions will turn out not to have been the best, who admit that mistakes happen and who are open about the consequences of their actions will not consider me and others like me as being "petulant, arrogant and juvenile".  Those, however, who see any questioning of their actions as wrong may well see me as you describe.   It is this last group who should be exposed.


My Agenda

You say, "You are fooling yourself if you don't recognise that you have an agenda which transcends the events in question. You do not like wealthy, successful companies. This is your problem, not Trafigura's."

I have absolutely no axe to grind with wealthy and successful companies simply because they are wealthy and successful.  I have done or said nothing which shows this to be the case.  You say this about me but you are wrong ... totally. 

Do I have an agenda?  YES!  I want to expose those who deliberately abuse power wherever they are whether or not they are wealthy, successful companies or some individual who is abusing another less powerful person. 

I said earlier that I wish I could do more to expose abuse of power but I do not have the resources to do so.  That IS my problem.


I hope this has cleared up your misunderstandings about me.



Sunday Morning Coffee with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen

Another week has passed, another show is due and I have a show for you with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen or as he was known,  ‘The Great Dane with the never-ending name’, or more simply as ‘NHØP’.  Whichever name we use what remains unchanged was his genius on the double bass.  Sadly I say “WAS his genius” because he died suddenly in 2005.

Before you listen, grab a coffee – a big coffee, find a comfy seat and sit down.  Now we’re ready for genius.


A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square
                                                                      with Ulf Wakenius

As I listen with eyes closed I am moved to a wonderful place.  To think I used to disown jazz!


I hadn’t heard of NHOP until June when I was preparing for the show on Oscar Peterson but having heard his music I was won over.  Clearly his talent was recognised early.  According to Wikipedia, NHOP started to play professionally in his early teens and by 17 he had been invited to join the Count Basie orchestra, an offer he turned down because he was too young to live and work in the USA as a musician. 


For the second track we pair Niels with a legendary guitarist.

Move                                                                    with Joe Pass

OMG!  Scintillating!


When Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson’s regular bassist, left to live in California it was to NHOP that Oscar turned.  Unfortunately for him Niels wouldn’t leave Denmark although he did join Oscar on European dates.


Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen died suddenly in April 2005.  Below is a short tribute from Hank Jones.

Much praise in just a few seconds.


Next up is a traditional Danish tune with pianist Kenny Drew with whom Niels recorded more than 50 albums.

Det var en lørdag aften                           with Kenny Drew

I have nothing fresh to say!


Another biography said this,

“He was a bass virtuoso, who made his unwieldy instrument sound almost impossibly agile. Like a finger-style guitarist, he could pluck the heavy strings with all four fingers of his right hand, where most bassists relied on repeated leverage from one finger, or two at the most.

The turn of speed this gave NHOP allowed jazz's classic “walking bassline” to be played at the most frenetic tempos, and over sustained periods behind soloists.”


HNOP shows his skill in this next piece – a 6 minute solo.

Samba Petit



Because of the speed at which he could play …..

“….Orsted Pedersen was thus able to hold down one of the most demanding jobs in mainstream jazz, as regular bassist to Oscar Peterson, one of the fastest pianists in the business. This was a tough enough task even with other musicians around to help spread the load, but NHOP often kept Peterson company in that most unforgiving of improvising situations, the drummerless duo.

When he took over the job with Peterson, his predecessor Ray Brown observed that the newcomer was the only bassist he could think of who would be quick enough to keep up with Peterson.”

If you want to hear Pedersen playing with Peterson then have a listen to my Oscar feature.



Bye Bye Blackbird                               with Chris McBride

Here Niels-Henning teams up with another brilliant bassist.

I realise that this music may not be to everyone’s taste but for me this is magical.


We continue with a very young NHOP – 19 or 20 - playing with Bill Evans of whom I had never heard.

Beautiful Love   
             with Bill Evans(piano) and Alan Dawson (drums)

Brilliant even then.


Oscar Peterson pays a very fulsome tribute.


We’re coming towards the end of the show now – just two more tracks and both with Kenny Drew.

Oleo   - w Kenny Drew (piano) and Alvin Queen (drums)

I’m sorry that I’m reduced to single words.  Fabulous.


When I decided that Niels would be the star of this show I knew that there was only one track with which to finish: this was the Music in the Morning track of about 10 days ago.

I Skovens dybe stille ro                           with Kenny Drew

This is another gorgeous old Danish tune.

What a way to say goodbye to the fabulous Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.


As last week there is the sadness that a star has died much too early.  Fortunately, with YouTube, his virtuosity lives on.

I hope you enjoyed the music of NHOP and I look forward to having you with me next week.