ROME, Sept. 16 (UPI) — An Italian government informant says a shipwreck holding toxic waste was deliberately sunk by the Calabrian mafia as a way to bypass environmental laws.
The informant has claimed he sank the vessel, found 18 miles off Italy’s southwest coast, and that it contains radioactive material, the BBC reported Wednesday. The informant reportedly said it is one of several ships he blew for by the mafia as part of a lucrative illegal radioactive waste disposal operation designed to bypass regulations.
The BBC said authorities are examining samples from the shipwreck to determine the presence of nuclear materials.
Meanwhile, the episode has triggered calls from Italy’s political opposition for the government to release more information about it, the Italian news agency ANSA reported, as members of parliament for the center-left Democratic Party and the small Italy of Values party Wednesday urged Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government to offer a report on the shipwreck.
“The problem of ships loaded with radioactive waste or dangerous boats sunk deliberately is an Italian mystery that should have been resolved years ago,” lawmaker Ermete Realacci, a leading environmentalist, said a written request.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International