LAGOS, Nigeria, April 16 (UPI) — Nigeria impounded a container ship of unclear ownership and origin that was allegedly laden with toxic waste, customs officials in Lagos said Friday.
The crew and its agents aboard the vessel, identified as the MV Nashville, docked at the Tin Can Island Port at Lagos, were also arrested and detained, pending an investigation, the officials said.
The MV Nashville, whose ownership and nation of origin were unclear late Friday, was alleged to be carrying 70 used lead batteries and broken televisions, officials cited by the allAfrica.com news Web site said.
Mike Zampa, vice president for corporate communications of Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines, told United Press International the ship was in no way related to his company, despite earlier reports it was.
“It is not our ship. We do not own a ship by that name. We have no vessel service to Nigeria. It’s wrong information,” he said in a phone interview from Singapore.
He said he had no idea whose ship it was. UPI was unable to immediately determine the ship’s owner, operator, origin or destination.
Such ships typically carry their loads in truck-size containers that are sealed intact.
The batteries aboard the MV Nashville were classified as code A1180 under the 1992 Basel Convention, an international treaty designed to reduce hazardous waste movements, specifically from developed countries to less developed countries.
The United States is one of three countries that signed the treaty but failed to ratify it. The two others are Afghanistan and Haiti.
A 1988 dumping of 3,500 tons of toxic waste by an Italian firm in a remote Nigerian coastal town Koko in southern Delta State caused death and injury to people and animals and contaminated lakes and rivers.
Only after environmental groups and Nigerian officials protested that the industrial world was improperly dumping chemical waste in developing countries did Italy order the toxic waste picked up and returned to Europe.
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