Thursday, 8 December 2011

Trafigura: Not the Whole Truth 12 – 3000 Mile Truth Gap


A series of posts in which I highlight areas where Trafigura, or those whose writing is supportive of them, does not tell the whole truth. There will be truth, possibly a lot of truth, in the statements I look at but all is not as it seems. I don’t allege that the ‘Not the Whole Truth’s are deliberate.


Trafigura had absolutely no reason to believe that the operation in Abidjan would be mishandled.

Indeed, there was nothing to suggest its [Abidjan’s] facilities or personnel were unable to treat the slops from the Probo Koala.


So said Trafigura in their 38 page document, ‘Trafigura and the Probo Koala’.

Not the whole truth!


Let’s look at other quotes from Trafigura from late 2005 to early 2006.

We have already spoken to all the main storage companies, US / Singapore and European terminals no longer allow the use of caustic soda washes since local environmental agencies do not allow disposal of the toxic caustic after treatment.[Naeem Ahmed Dec 2005]

‘Caustic washes are banned by most countries due to the hazardous nature of the waste (mercaptans, phenols, smell)

suppliers of caustic are unwilling to dispose of the water since there are not many facilities remaining in the market. 

There is a company in Rotterdam that burns such waste in a high stack chimney and charges are approx $200/kg and could have up to 1000kg of sludge after a treatment operation.

Under EU law you no longer allowed to transport such waste across EU borders.’

[All from Naeem Ahmed in Dec 2005.  Claude Dauphin was copied into email]


‘Will still need to find a company that will take the waste’

[Naeem Ahmed in Dec 2005]

There is only one specialist disposal company in Rotterdam they charge $250/kg but not allowed to drive across EU borders.

[Naeem Ahmed Dec 2005]


We should also be talking to specialist Chemical clean up companies about the process of clean up afterwards ….[James McNicoll Dec 2005]


I don’t know how we dispose of the slops and I don’t imply we would dump them

but there must be a way to pay someone to take them.

[Both from Leon Christophilopoulos March 2006]

‘We are coming up with some problems regarding treating/disposing of the PMI naphtha out of Brownsville

We are now limited to caustic washing on a ship.

La Skhirra where we were washing/discharging will not let us discharge this material anymore.

We also still haven’t tackled how we dispose of the washings on board the vessel washing the cargo.’

[All from Leon Christophilopoulos Apr 2006.  Claude Dauphin copied in]


and Trafigura:

describe their waste to be typical MARPOL waste which could be treated at any sophisticated port with reception facilities

never identified Abidjan as a port with the specialist facilities needed to treat their waste

said, ‘Indeed, there was nothing to suggest its [Abidjan’s] facilities or personnel were unable to treat the slops from the Probo Koala.


Again, as we saw in Amsterdam, Trafigura’s pre-knowledge of the process and its waste is totally incompatible with their later actions and words.


There is a truth gap the size of the distance between Amsterdam and Abidjan.


Only Trafigura can fill this gap with their knowledge, with truth.  Until they do it will fill with speculation.




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