Ship with Suspected Toxic Waste Seized

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 16 (UPI) — Nigeria impounded a container ship with possible U.S. ties that was allegedly laden with toxic waste, customs officials in Lagos said Friday.

The crew and its agents aboard the vessel 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 — a container ship reportedly operated by American President Lines, a subsidiary of Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines, with a corporate office in Scottsdale, Ariz. — was alleged to be carrying 70 used lead batteries and broken televisions, officials cited by the news Web site said.

The batteries 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.

Officials did not say where the ship originated or what its final destination was.

Mike Zampa, listed by American President Lines as its director of corporate communications for the Americas, did not immediately respond to a United Press International e-mail seeking confirmation of the report. United Press International calls to a phone number listed for Zampa brought a recording saying the number was disconnected or no longer in service.

A 1988 dumping of 3,500 tons of toxic waste in a remote Nigerian coastal town Koko in southern Delta State by an Italian firm 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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Categorized | Hazardous Waste, Other
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