"Trafigura was not responsible for dumping the Probo Koala's slops in Abidjan. This has always been made perfectly clear. The slops were dumped by an independent contractor, Compagnie Tommy, which was appointed lawfully and in good faith on the basis that it would dispose of the slops in a safe and legal manner. Trafigura cannot have foreseen the reprehensible and illegal way in which Compagnie Tommy then proceeded to dump the slops.
The Probo Koala's stop in Abidjan (West Africa's largest port) in August 2006 was on the return from a voyage to West Africa for the purposes of commercial deliveries of gasoline. We have always made clear that this was a commercial voyage.
The Probo Koala's slops were a mixture of gasoline, water and caustic soda. According to analyses that Trafigura has seen, it is not possible that the content of the slops could have led to the deaths and widespread injuries which are alleged to have been caused by them. This is supported by independent expert evidence which Trafigura will present in the English High Court in Autumn 2009. It is for this reason that Trafigura made its proposal (since accepted and agreed by Leigh Day) to proceed on the basis of causation only. While continuing strenuously to deny liability, the company decided to proceed on this basis independently of the issue of liability.
This is most certainly not, on any analysis, an admission of liability by Trafigura. On the contrary, it was intended to save time and costs for both parties by getting to what Trafigura considered the central issue. You may wish to be aware that Leigh Day & Co's mis-description of the nature of this agreement on its website is currently the subject of a malicious falsehood complaint made by Trafigura.
Trafigura's own investigations did reveal that people living in the village of Akouedo (one of the places where the Probo Koala's slops were dumped by Compagnie Tommy) have suffered significant long-term health issues caused by over 40 years of commercial and domestic waste dumping. However, it does not know and will not speculate publicly as to where this waste originated.
Trafigura has always said that the appropriate place for this case to be heard is in court and we are not prepared to engage in a trial by media. Whilst we refute your allegations, in the light of the impending court hearing, Trafigura does not feel it is appropriate to deal with these matters via the media. We will demonstrate the strength of our case when the trial commences in the Autumn."