The Probo Koala case in 12 questions

Click here to read the Dutch version or the French version of this FAQ.

In 2006 Trafigura chartered the Probo Koala, a tanker, for the transportation of oil products. The vessel needed to have some residual waste or 'slops' treated. These slops were discharged to a licensed contractor in Abidjan in the presence Ivorian officials, but the contractor then recklessly dumped them at 17 or 18 locations in the city, triggering the events known as ‘the Probo Koala case’ and leading to more than 10 years of legal claims, expert and media reports. 

Here are the facts in twelve summary Q&As with reference documents included.

 

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LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE PROBO KOALA CASE

  • 30th November 2016: The District Court of Amsterdam dismisses the claim brought by Stichting UVDTAB 
    See below 11. WHAT DOES THE RULING AGAINST UVDTAB SAY?

  • 30th January 2018: UNEP releases its independent audit of the sites affected by the 2006 waste discharge from the Probo Koala
    See below 12. IS THERE ANY RESIDUAL CONTAMINATION FROM THE PROBO KOALA SLOPS IN ABIDJAN?

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1. What happened?

1. What happened?

In 2006, Trafigura chartered the tanker Probo Koala to transport 84,989 metric tonnes of coker naphtha, a gasoline blendstock. After carrying out a caustic washing procedure on board known as “Merox process”, the vessel needed to have a small amount of residual waste from the process (called “slops”) treated. The discharge and treatment of slops and waste materials from all vessels, including crude oil and product carriers, is an everyday occurrence around the world.


On 2nd July 2006, Trafigura attempted to have the waste treated in Amsterdam but eventually disagreed on the revised price proposed by the contracted company, APS. After a failed attempt in Lagos (Nigeria), Trafigura called for an experienced port agent in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), WAIBS, to select an authorized company there. WAIBS recommended Compagnie Tommy, a recently licensed local operator. The discharge of slops to Compagnie Tommy was conducted with the approval of the port authorities and in the presence of both the police and customs officials.


On 19th August 2006, in flagrant breach of their obligations, Compagnie Tommy dumped 528m3 of slops at 17 or 18 locations in Abidjan. From 21st August 2006, residents started to complain of a terrible smell and from 5th September, while at the same time free admission to hospitals was announced by a government official, tens of thousands visited local hospitals. It was soon alleged that the slops had caused serious injuries.

This incident was brought before numerous civil and criminal courts, mainly in the Ivory Coast, in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Judgements have been rendered and settlements have been made. Trafigura notably paid USD 198 million to the Government of the Ivory Coast to fund complete remediation and compensate the Ivorian government and any victim; paid EUR 1.3 million in the Netherlands; and GBP 30 million to settle claims by 29,614 claimants represented by Leigh Day &Co law firm in the UK. Part of the money paid to Leigh Day & Co to distribute never reached its intended beneficiaries. 

Some interested parties continue to claim that the events and their consequences were not fully investigated and that Trafigura’s role remains unclear.

On 16th February 2015 and 11th January 2016 respectively, two Dutch claim vehicles (“Stichtings”) allegedly representing more than 100,000 Ivorian claimants each, have introduced new liability claims in the Amsterdam District Court.

 

Documents:

The Probo Koala’s journey 

Trafigura and the Probo Koala 

2. What was the exact composition of the slops, the so-called “toxic waste”?

2. What was the exact composition of the slops, the so-called “toxic waste”?

The slops were generated after the Probo Koala performed a caustic washing on-board in part to reduce the quantities of mercaptans which emitted an unpleasant sulphurous smell. 

 

 

Documents:

The Probo Koala’s design

Probo Koala’s certificate of class

Internal emails published by the Guardian, September 2009

CIAPOL analyses, 22nd August 2006 

Draft Minton Report, 14th September 2006

Public statement by Minton, Treharnes & Davies on the Draft Minton Report, September 2006

Invitation letter from Trafigura to The Rt Hon Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC INCL Response

 Trafigura Appoints Lord Fraser of Carmyllie to Conduct Enquiry 6 November 2006

First Interim Report by Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC - PROBOKOALA REPORT 01

Second Interim Report of Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC - PROBO KOALA REPORT 02

Evening Standard, Joshua Rozenberg, 28th October 2008

 

The best available description of the characteristics of the slops is the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) report (see §4.2 page 13) - although it was based on tests conducted in Amsterdam in July 2006, six weeks before the dumping. The report was commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and released on 29th January 2007. It is in the public domain and available online.


The NFI quantitative and qualitative data does match the analyses of the samples taken from the discharge sites in September 2006 by the French civil security, COGIC and BRGM. They were subsequently corroborated by the analyses run by BURGEAP in 2007 and then by WSP in early 2009.

 

 

Documents:

NFI Report, 29th January 2007 

French civil security, 9th September 2006 et BRGM, 12th September 2006 

BURGEAP reports Phase 1, 7th June 2007

BURGEAP reports Phase 2, 20th March 2008 

WSP summary report, July 2009

Trafigura statement on the composition of the slops, 24th August 2016

3. Were the slops actually “toxic”?

3. Were the slops actually “toxic”?

On 13th September 2006, the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team deployed in Abidjan, among many other international bodies, declared: “the concentrations of the concerned compounds in the air are low and no further adverse health effects are to be expected. However the chemicals, especially mercaptans have strong smells at low concentrations […]. This may give a false impression of toxicity”. On the 12th of September 2006, the French COGIC had already estimated that “it is no longer a toxic threat but an information issue about the population’s understanding of the events”.


Nevertheless, the alleged presence of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas raised particular concerns - fuelled by alarming reports notably from the BBC and the soaring number of medical consultations in Abidjan (108,000 visits in total). Claims relating to the presence of H2S were later ruled out on the basis of the NFI report which noted that the slops registered a pH of 14, a reading that was extremely alkaline. There is no evidence to suggest that conditions at any of the Abidjan dump sites were sufficiently acidic to effect a change in the slops that would mean that the slops would generate hydrogen sulphide gas.


The toxicity of the slops was investigated in the UK legal proceedings in 2009. The 20 independent appointed experts concluded that they were “unable to identify a link between exposure to the chemicals released from the slops and deaths, miscarriages, still births, birth defects, loss of visual acuity or other serious and chronic injuries”. Neither deaths, nor miscarriages or serious illnesses could have been caused by the slops. Nor could dermatological conditions have been caused or made worse by any alleged exposure to the slops. 


On the basis of the detailed expert analysis undertaken by both sides in the UK legal proceedings, the Claimants' lawyers publicly accepted and agreed with Trafigura that “the slops could at worse have caused a range of short term low-level flu-like symptoms and anxiety". This statement was also fully endorsed by the presiding judge, Mr Justice MacDuff. The expert reports are by nature privileged and confidential. 


Neither the criminal proceedings brought in the Ivory Coast, nor the investigations carried out in the Netherlands, resulted in an independent and publicly available comprehensive toxicological study. 


Incidentally, the Probo Koala’s crew, those present or directly involved at the discharge of the slops (the port authorities, tanker drivers and customs staff) never reported any ill effects despite being in close proximity to the material.

 

Documents:

French civil security, 9th September 2006 et BRGM, 12th September 2006 

UNDAC report, 13th September 2006

Full correspondence with Amnesty International & ICAR

Full correspondence with the UN Special Rapporteur

Agreed joint statement, 19th September 2009

Extract of statements by His Honour Judge Macduff, 23rd September 2009

Official Transcript of Mr. Justice MacDuff Hearing, 23rd September 2009

NFI witness in the Amsterdam criminal proceedings, 21st September 2009

Minton statement on H2S, 21st June 2010 

Trafigura Disputes BBC’s Case, 20th November 2009 

Trafigura Press Release on BBC Settlement, 17th December 2009 

BBC Broadcasts Apology, 17th December 2009 

BBC Statement in Open Court, 17th December 2009 

Media corrections and Guardian Apology, 6th May 2010 

Times, BBC, Independent, Times Online, Guardian, Economist corrections

The Toxic ship, Jaffe Vink, October 2011 (Het Gifschip)

4. Have the “dump sites” been fully remediated?

4. Have the “dump sites” been fully remediated?

On 17th September 2006, company Trédi, a French environmental remediation company, was mandated by the Ivorian Government. In total, Trédi removed and shipped for incineration 9,300 tons of liquids, mud and soil (17.6 times the volume of the slops) from the discharge sites. Intermediary reports are available on www.dechetstoxiques.gouv.ci. In October 2007, the Government commissioned company Biogénie to complete the remediation.


Neither the samples taken by BURGEAP in July 2007 at the Ivorian Government and Trafigura’s request, nor tests run by WSP in 2009 when instructed by Trafigura, revealed the presence on the discharge sites of any residual compounds that could have originated from the slops remaining after the waste removal process.


However, in 2009, having taken samples on control sites in Abidjan (where no slops were discharged), WSP found evidence of degraded environmental conditions in general, which have arisen over a number of years and are likely to affect the health of the local population. Since then - as explicated in UNEP’s post-conflict environmental assessment in July 2015 – the electoral crisis of 2010-2011 “resulted in a range of environmental issues including water pollution, inappropriate disposal of hazardous and municipal waste and severe land degradation”. Akouédo landfill, the main discharge site in 2006, remains the prime destination for waste collected in Abidjan including household but also medical and industrial chemical waste. This has been the case since 1965.


On 7th November 2015, the Ivorian Minister of the Environment eventually announced that “all the discharge sites had been decontaminated” and that the results of the operations performed by Biogénie had been audited and ascertained by the Ivorian public bodies, BNETD and CIAPOL.


It is believed that - while these sites may have been polluted over the long term - there is no ongoing pollution related to the slops, hence no long-term effects can be expected due to long-term exposure.

 

Documents:

Information website of the Cellule présidentielle, Sept. 2006-Sept. 2007 

BURGEAP reports Phase 1, 7th June 2007

BURGEAP reports Phase 2, 20th March 2008 

WSP summary report,  July 2009 

UNEP post-conflict environmental assessment, July 2015 (Summary) 

UNEP post-conflict environmental assessment, July 2015 (Full version) 

Statement of a group of UN Special rapporteurs, 17th August 2016 

Press review on the completion of remediation, November 2015

5. Who is liable for this incident?

5. Who is liable for this incident?

On 22nd October 2008, after the investigating judge dropped all criminal charges brought against Trafigura’s executives and the Ivorian civil servants for lack of evidence, the Ivorian courts convicted WAIB’s and Tommy’s executives for poisoning and breaching the Ivorian environmental rules.

 

Documents:

Official releases of the Presidency of the République of Côte d’Ivoire on the Settlement, 14th  June 2007

Official releases of the Presidency of the République of Côte d’Ivoire on the Settlement, 21th June 2007 

 

On 19th September 2009, in the settlement reached with Leigh Day & Co in the UK, Trafigura offered to pay GBP950 per claimant – GBP30 million in total, excluding the legal cost claimed by the lawyers – and maintained that it was no acknowledgement of liability.

 

A year later, on 10th May 2010, it was reported that Leigh Day & Co had submitted a legal bill of GBP105 million to the Court in relation to the settled English group action of September 2009. The costs claim became the largest of its kind at the time for any personal injury or group litigation proceedings in legal history. Trafigura made an advance payment of GBP30 million. The final amount was settled and is subject to confidentiality.

 

Documents:

Martyn Day initial press statement, 9th November 2006

Agreed joint statement, 19th September 2009 

Extract of statements by His Honour Judge Macduff, 23rd September 2009 

Official Transcript of Mr. Justice MacDuff Hearing, 23rd September 2009

Announcement on the bill submitted by Leigh Day, 10th May 2010  

 

On 23rd July 2010, Trafigura was fined EUR 1 million by the Dutch courts for breaching the rules on the transport of hazardous waste, notably the European Waste Shipment Regulation (259/93/EC), the MARPOL Convention and the EU Port Reception Facilities Directive. All appeals were withdrawn after a settlement was reached with the Dutch public prosecutor on 16th November 2012. This ruling dealt with a technical breach of the provisions for exporting from the European Union - not with the events in the Ivory Coast.

 

Documents: 

Judgement appealed by Trafigura, 23rd July 2010

Statement from the Dutch Public Prosecutor's Office, 16th November 2012

Trafigura Statement on the settlement, 16th November 2012

 

On 23rd July 2014 - in light of the settlement reached with the State of the Ivory Coast on 13th February 2007 upon which the Government undertook to compensate all the victims - the Ivorian Cour Suprême in joint session ruled that the settlement shall be binding, and as a consequence all claims pertaining to the events shall be brought against the State, not against Trafigura. 


It remains Trafigura’s position that it is not liable for the events and offered compensation in consideration of what it believed to be a responsibility to the region and its people. The company maintains that it followed all due diligence processes and complied with all applicable rules and could not have foreseen the reprehensible acts of Compagnie Tommy. 


Documents:

Compagnie Tommy correspondence

Tommy De Slopping certificate signed by the authorities

Incorrect statement on Tommy, 1st September 2011 

Report by the Ivorian National Inquiry Commission, 22nd November 2006

Court order, Abidjan Court of appeal, Yameogo Hado & others v Trafigura, 12th December 2010

Court order, Cour Supreme of the République of Côte d’Ivoire in joint session, Yameogo Hado & others v Trafigura, 23rd July 2014  

6. Has Trafigura’s role in this incident been subject to judicial scrutiny?

6. Has Trafigura’s role in this incident been subject to judicial scrutiny?

Trafigura’s role has been investigated by multiple civil and criminal courts and judgements in multiple jurisdictions.

Principally:

In 2006, the Ivorian President and the Ivorian Prime Minister appointed magistrates to investigate in and outside of the national territory on the responsibilities of the various actors in the chain of decision-making in the Ivory Coast. Their reports became part of the criminal case in the Ivorian courts.

Documents:

Report by the Ivorian National Inquiry Commission, 22nd November 2006

Report by the Ivorian International Inquiry Commission, 19th February 2007

 

Between 2006 and 2009, cases brought by Leigh Day & Co in relation to the incident were examined in the High Court in London. Before the claims were eventually settled, highly detailed reports were prepared as forensic evidence with regard to individual cases deemed to be representative of the 29,614 claimants. The presiding Judge, Mr Justice MacDuff endorsed the statement reached by the parties.

 

Documents:

Agreed joint statement, 19th September 2009 

Extract of statements by His Honour Judge Macduff, 23rd September 2009 

Official Transcript of Mr. Justice MacDuff Hearing, 23rd September 2009 

 

Between 2006 and 2010, in the Netherlands, the criminal charges brought against Trafigura led to extensive investigations on the lawfulness of Trafigura’s behaviour regarding its understanding of the nature of the slops and the decision to export them outside of the European Union. The NFI report is part of this work.

 

Documents:

Statement from the Dutch Public Prosecutor's Office, 16th November 2012

Trafigura Statement on the settlement, 16th November 2012

 

Later on, when the  authorities in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, including the Dutch Public Prosecutor, were pressured to further examine Trafigura’s role in the discharge of the slops in the Ivory Coast, the authorities did not see sufficient public interest to justify further investigations. In April 2011, after 18 months of examination, the Dutch Court of Appeal in The Hague dismissed Greenpeace Holland’s complaint against the decision of the Public Prosecutor not to prosecute Trafigura for the allegedly illegal dumping in the Ivory Coast; in March 2014, Amnesty International sent in turn a detailed legal brief to the UK’s authorities advocating for further investigations, but the case was not considered a matter of public interest either; at the same time, a first attempt to bring a class action in the Netherlands was dismissed by the Dutch courts on ground among other things, that the claim was “completely unnecessary or unjustified”.

 

Documents:

Court order on Greenpeace request, The Hague, 12th April 2011

Decisions from the UK authorities on Amnesty’s request, 9th January 2015 

Court order, Stichting UVDTAB v Trafigura and others, 10th July 2014

 

Since February 2015, the incident has been before the District court of Amsterdam, as two new class actions have been filed on behalf of Ivorian claimants.

 

 

7. What did the Settlement between Trafigura and the State of Ivory Coast include?

7. What did the Settlement between Trafigura and the State of Ivory Coast include?

Trafigura reached an agreement on 13th February 2007 with the Ivorian Government acting in its name and in the name of all the victims of the toxic waste to resolve all present or future lawsuits.


Under this agreement, Trafigura paid USD198 million to the State for the compensation of the damages suffered by the State, as well as compensation to the victims and a complete remediation of the sites. In return, the State of the Ivory Coast undertook to guarantee Trafigura against all claims arising from the events and to take all appropriate measures to guarantee compensation to the victims.

 

This agreement has the force of a settlement and the authority of a judgment.

 

As a result, the State of the Ivory Coast completed the remediation of the sites and implemented a compensation plan which was advertised in national newspapers to enable all the victims to register and receive compensation. 

 

Documents:

Ministerial decrees N54, 22nd February 2007

Ministerial decrees N56, 22nd February 2007

Ministerial decrees N54, N55, N56, 22nd February 2007

Official release of the Presidency of the République of Côte d’Ivoire on the Settlement, 21st June 2007 

Fraternité Matin (newspaper) éditions, July 2007 

 

 

 

8. Have all “victims” been compensated?

8. Have all “victims” been compensated?

The exact number of the “victims” is unclear. While the Ivorian hospitals recorded 108,000 medical visits in the wake of the discharge, dozens of associations developed in Abidjan claiming to represent thousands of “victims” each, often without being able to substantiate it. These associations are to this day still active.


However, Trafigura understands that part of the money paid in compensation did not reach its intended beneficiaries and/or was misappropriated or embezzled.


First, the Ivorian governmental compensation process was officially suspended on 19th August 2009 because of large-scale identity fraud and a problem of identification in the payment documents. According to a government website, on 28 October 2008, 63% of the identified “victims” and almost 100% of those having suffered economic losses had received payments.


Regarding the GBP30 million paid to Leigh Day & Co in the English courts, it was established that as of 1st May 2011 some GBP6 million were misappropriated in the Ivory Coast. On 13rd January 2015, the Ivorian courts sentenced the people in charge of the distribution to 20 years of imprisonment, while on 16th June 2016, Leigh Day & Co was held liable in the UK for breach of contract and duty of care at the expense of the Ivorian claimants.

 

Documents:

Information website of the Cellule présidentielle, Sept. 2006-Sept. 2007

Order from Judge Mac Duff, 4th November 2009

Criminal judgement, Abidjan District Court, P. Prosecutor v Claude Gohourou, Cheick Koné Oumar and others, 13th January 2015

Statement of a group of UN Special rapporteurs, 17th August 2016 

Civil judgment, Agouman v Leigh Day & Co, 16th June 2016

9. Who are the associations and “Stichtings” (claim vehicles) suing Trafigura in Amsterdam?

9. Who are the associations and “Stichtings” (claim vehicles) suing Trafigura in Amsterdam?

Two of the Ivorian associations established after the discharge of the slops in Abidjan have brought claims in the Dutch courts against Trafigura. Each claims to represent more than 100,000 individuals who have signed up upon a fee - and a percentage of the anticipated amount of compensation (up to 30%) which, in case of success, will be held by the associations.

 

In view of the proceedings, each of them has established a Dutch claim vehicle (‘Stichting’), respectively Stichting Union des Victimes des Déchets Toxiques d'Abidjan et Banlieues (UVDTAB) and Stichting Victimes des Déchets Toxiques Côte d'Ivoire (VDTCI).

 

Stichting UVDTAB introduced its claim on 16th February 2015. It claims to represent 110,937 people and demands an initial compensation of some EUR277 million. On 10th May 2016, in view of the scope of a suspected fraud in the victim files, Trafigura filed a criminal complaint against the Stichting for forgery of documents, possession of forged documents, use of fake medical statements and other documents, attempt to defraud and participation in a criminal organisation. 



Document:

Confirmation of receipt of the criminal complaint from the Dutch prosecutor, 12th May 2016

 

Stichting VDTCI has in turn served its summons to Trafigura on 11th January 2016 – on behalf of some 110,865 claimants, but it does not give full clarity about the persons or interests it represents.

 

 

10. How does the Dutch system for collective redress work?

10. How does the Dutch system for collective redress work?

In the Netherlands, collective actions are introduced by means of specific vehicles (“Stichtings”), which are meant to defend certain common interests of a group of people through one single collective claim. Stichtings do not have to show for whom they are acting, they are not designated by courts and do not have to demonstrate that their own interests were adversely affected by the sued party. However, they must demonstrate that they “sufficiently safeguard” the interests of the people having a right for action.

 

The Stichting cannot be compensated financially - it can only seek a declaratory relief holding the other party liable. Each claimant will then have to introduce an individual claim and demonstrate in court that he or she suffered damages as a result from the behaviour of the party held liable.

 

The Dutch system for collective redress - which is recognised by the experts as being one of the most liberal systems in Europe - is currently a topic of public debate in the Netherlands.

 

The country of residence of the people whose interests are presumably represented by the Stichting is notably not decisive and Dutch courts have recently upheld claims brought by a majority of foreign claimants. The litigation can also be funded through third-party litigation funding - where a third party to the litigation agrees to fund or insure one litigant’s own or adverse legal costs in return for a share of the recovered damages (up to 3 times the money invested) or a premium.

 

With the aim of preventing abuses by Stichtings a “Claim Code” was drawn up. It sets requirements for good governance, financial management and control of the Stichtings but recent academic inquiries show that a majority of the Stichtings do not comply with these requirements.

 

More on Collective redress:

Dutch Claim code

Review of Civil Litigation Costs: Final Report, R. Jackson, Dec. 2009 

11. WHAT DOES THE RULING AGAINST UVDTAB SAY?

11. WHAT DOES THE RULING AGAINST UVDTAB SAY?

On 30th Nov 2016, the Dutch District Court of Amsterdam confirmed the fraudulent nature of the claim brought by Stichting UVDTAB and dismissed it for it failed to comply with the Dutch Claim Code.

 

Taking into account that the Dutch legislator has aimed to "prevent organisations using the right to collective action for their own commercial objective", the Court considered the numerous irregularities of the file, including a poor governance, a lack of reliable mandates and backdated documents and accepted Trafigura’s argument that all these "raise doubt regarding the integrity of the Stichting and its chairman".

 

In particular, the Court pointed out that "the participants committed to pay costs [...] and agreed that 30 % of any damages paid by Trafigura would be retained by the association, [which] cannot be easily reconciled with the guiding principle stated in [its Articles of association and the Claim Code] that the legal entity is a non-profit association".

 

Document:

Judgment Stichting UVDTAB v Trafigura (II), 30th November 2016

12. IS THERE ANY RESIDUAL CONTAMINATION FROM THE PROBO KOALA SLOPS IN ABIDJAN?

12. IS THERE ANY RESIDUAL CONTAMINATION FROM THE PROBO KOALA SLOPS IN ABIDJAN?

On 14th July 2016, The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) announced it was conducting a new audit of the sites concerned by the discharge of the slops.

 

It was not clear how UNEP intended to conduct this audit, which methodologies it was using and whether any third party organisations were involved in the study.

 

As a result, Ramboll Environ, an international environmental consultancy firm, has been engaged to produce an independent assessment of the potential of residual contamination from the slops.

 

Ramboll Environ concludes that “in 2016, 10 years after the deposit of the slops and remediation of the sites, there is no residual contamination from the slops present at concentrations that could cause adverse human health effects”. This report is available online since 6th December 2016.

 

Documents:

UNEP Press statement, 14th July 2016

Full correspondence with UNEP, 18th August 2016 – 26th January 2018

Executive Summary of Ramboll Environ report, 6th December 2016

 

On 30th January 2018, on the occasion of the 2nd Conference of the parties to the Bamako Convention in Abidjan à Abidjan, UNEP released its report, concluding that: « None of the dumping sites showed contamination exceeding the limits set by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for remediation. As a result, none of these sites require additional intervention, even when gauged against Dutch intervention values, which are among the most commonly used guidelines for contaminated site management and remediation worldwide. »

 

UNEP Press statement, 30th January 2018

Executive Summary of the UNEP report

Full UNEP report

Timeline of events

Scroll through this timeline for access to key facts and figures relevant and material to our stakeholders.



2006
June
  • Probo Koala leaves Mediterranean
July
  • Probo Koala in Amsterdam
August
  • Probo Koala from Lagos to Abidjan
  • Probo Koala in Abidjan
September
  • Arrival and arrest of Trafigura team
  • Trafigura commissions the draft Minton Report
  • Probo Koala detained in Paldiski
  • Results of the NFI Report
  • The Ivorian government receives the results of the analysis made in Amsterdam
November
  • Probo Koala inspected in Fujairah
  • Trafigura appoints Rt. Hon The Lord Fraser of Carmyllie to chair Probo Koala Inquiry
  • Leigh Day & Co initiates High Court group action
2007
February
  • Ministerial decrees providing for compensation process in the Ivory Coast
  • Agreement between Trafigura and the Ivorian Government
  • Release of Trafigura Executives
July
  • Lists of people entitled to compensation published in the Ivory Coast
  • Trafigura serves defence against Leigh Day & Co
2008
March
  • Ivorian Court of Appeal drops criminal charges against Trafigura employees
April
  • Charges brought against Trafigura in Amsterdam
October
  • Trafigura and Leigh Day & Co case management agreement
  • Head of Compagnie Tommy convicted
2009
May
  • BBC broadcasts defamatory Newsnight report
July
  • WSP publishes independent report
September
  • UN Special Rapporteur publishes report
  • Trafigura vindicated in the English High Court
  • Greenpeace files Complaint in The Hague
  • The 'Super-Injunction' and The Guardian
December
  • BBC broadcasts apology to Trafigura
2010
March
  • Lord Fraser issues second Interim Report of Probo Koala Inquiry
May
  • The Guardian publishes apology to Trafigura
  • Leigh Day & Co's legal bill disclosed for Trafigura case
July
  • Trafigura acquitted of one charge and convicted of other charges in Amsterdam
December
  • Ivorian Court of Appeal dismisses civil claims against Trafigura
2011
April
  • Greenpeace Complaint dismissed in The Hague's Court of Appeal
July
  • Dutch Appeal Court decision
October
  • The Toxic Ship (Het Gifship), by Jaffe Vink
2012
September
  • The Toxic Truth, by Greenpeace Netherlands and Amnesty International
November
  • Settlement in the Dutch proceedings
2014
July
  • Final ruling of the Supreme Court in Abidjan
  • Stichting UVDTAB claim dismissed in Amsterdam
2015
January
  • Amnesty International’s request dismissed by UK authorities
  • Criminal judgement in Abidjan (embezzlement of compensation funds under Leigh Day’s custody)
February
  • New claim by Stichting UBDTAB
July
  • UNEP publishes its post-conflict environmental assessment in the Ivory Coast
November
  • Final assessment and official closing of remedial works
2016
January
  • New claim by Stichting VDTCI
May
  • Criminal complaint filed by Trafigura against Stichting UVDTAB
June
  • Leigh Day & Co held liable in UK Courts
July
  • UNEP announced a new audit of the sites
November
  • Stichting UVDTAB claim dismissed in Amsterdam (2nd claim)
December
  • Ramboll report on the absence of residual contamination
2018
January
  • UNEP concludes the sites no longer show contamination exceeding limits.

TESTIMONIALS

‘...the slops could at worst have caused a range of short term low-level flu like symptoms and anxiety’

Leigh Day (representing Ivorian Claimants) & Trafigura, Agreed Joint Statement, 18 September 2009



TESTIMONIALS

‘From where I sit and from what I have seen of the [Court] papers, the Joint Statement is 100% truthful.’

Justice MacDuff in reference to the Leigh Day & Co. and Trafigura, Agreed Joint Statement, 22 September 2009



Testimonials

Any suggestion that the Draft September 2006 Report was anything other than an initial desktop study... would be wholly incorrect.

JOHN MINTON, OF MINTON, TREHARNE & DAVIES, 19 October 2009



Testimonials

I have been following what has been happening in the media both in the newspapers and on TV and radio. I have witnessed myself how wildly inaccurate some of the statements have been.

MR JUSTICE MACDUFF, 22 September 2009



TEstimonials

Our item headlined ‘Success for the Guardian’ erroneously linked the dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast from a vessel chartered by Trafigura with the deaths of a number of West Africans.

THE GUARDIAN, 05 May 2010



Testimonials

We wish to make clear that the dumping was not carried out by Trafigura as the article may have suggested but by an independent local contractor without Trafigura’s authority or knowledge.

TIMES ONLINE, 30 April 2010



Testimonials

Speaking for myself, I hope the press that have made statements which have been wrong will take note of the Joint Statement.

MR JUSTICE MACDUFF, 22 September 2009



TEstimonials

The BBC withdraws the allegation that deaths, miscarriages or serious or long-term injuries were caused by the waste and apologises to Trafigura for having claimed otherwise.

BBC, 14 May 2009



TEstimonials

...the chemicals, especially mercaptans have strong smells at low concentrations [and are] detectable by the human nose at concentrations far below danger levels. This may give a false impression of toxicity.

UN DISASTER ASSESSMENT AND COORDINATION (UNDAC), 17 September 2006



  • TESTIMONIALS

    ‘...the slops could at worst have caused a range of short term low-level flu like symptoms and anxiety’

    Leigh Day (representing Ivorian Claimants) & Trafigura, Agreed Joint Statement, 18 September 2009



  • TESTIMONIALS

    ‘From where I sit and from what I have seen of the [Court] papers, the Joint Statement is 100% truthful.’

    Justice MacDuff in reference to the Leigh Day & Co. and Trafigura, Agreed Joint Statement, 22 September 2009



  • Testimonials

    Any suggestion that the Draft September 2006 Report was anything other than an initial desktop study... would be wholly incorrect.

    JOHN MINTON, OF MINTON, TREHARNE & DAVIES, 19 October 2009



  • Testimonials

    I have been following what has been happening in the media both in the newspapers and on TV and radio. I have witnessed myself how wildly inaccurate some of the statements have been.

    MR JUSTICE MACDUFF, 22 September 2009



  • TEstimonials

    Our item headlined ‘Success for the Guardian’ erroneously linked the dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast from a vessel chartered by Trafigura with the deaths of a number of West Africans.

    THE GUARDIAN, 05 May 2010



  • Testimonials

    We wish to make clear that the dumping was not carried out by Trafigura as the article may have suggested but by an independent local contractor without Trafigura’s authority or knowledge.

    TIMES ONLINE, 30 April 2010



  • Testimonials

    Speaking for myself, I hope the press that have made statements which have been wrong will take note of the Joint Statement.

    MR JUSTICE MACDUFF, 22 September 2009



  • TEstimonials

    The BBC withdraws the allegation that deaths, miscarriages or serious or long-term injuries were caused by the waste and apologises to Trafigura for having claimed otherwise.

    BBC, 14 May 2009



  • TEstimonials

    ...the chemicals, especially mercaptans have strong smells at low concentrations [and are] detectable by the human nose at concentrations far below danger levels. This may give a false impression of toxicity.

    UN DISASTER ASSESSMENT AND COORDINATION (UNDAC), 17 September 2006



Probo Koala Trafigura Ore Bulk Oil Carrier

The Probo Koala, a 40,000 tonne Ore Bulk Oil carrier,
chartered by Trafigura.

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