Back in 2006, the Government of the Ivory Coast resigned after it emerged that they failed to prevent toxic waste from chartered ship Probo Koala being dumped in the country’s capital Abidjan.

The toxic sludge dumped in and around the lagoon upon which the city is built has been linked to thousands of cases of illness and also blamed for a number of miscarriages and deaths – though these are disputed by the company that chartered the vessel, Trafigura, which says medical evidence shows the slops could only lead to ‘flu-like symptoms’.

At the time of the incident Trafigura said that it was regrettable but that it was not responsible as the sludge had been dumped by local contractors who had been paid to dispose of it in a safe manner.

Now courts in Amsterdam are to hear cases relating to alleged failed attempts to offload the waste in Holland prior to its dumping in the Ivory Coast.

The courts will try port authorities, city officials, the ship’s captain and Trafigura itself.

The case is expected to last five weeks.

Sam Bond

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