The Stinking Ship

27 min - USA Bagassi Koura

'The Stinking Ship' is a 26 minute documentary film that chronicles the odyssey of an oil toxic waste shipment and the human tragedy that followed the dumping of the ship's cargo in the middle of an African city causing perhaps one of the biggest environmental disasters of the last decade. The film starts with a view of the ship, the Probo Koala, when on August 19, 2006, it sneaked into Abidjan and spread its toxic cargo across Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire's largest city. Weeks earlier, after numerous attempts in several places within the USA and the Mediterranean, the ship sailed to the Netherlands at a specialist facility. But Trafigura quickly found the disposal cost to be too expensive. Probo Koala then sailed to Africa and found in Cote d'Ivoire what they called 'an experienced subcontractor:' a local company with no waste handling experience at all. On August 19, 2006, a fleet of trucks unloaded the ship's cargo in the cover of the night at trash sites across the city, causing what the national newspaper then called 'The Ivorian Chernobyl'. More than 100,000 intoxicated people sought medical consultations and many died within days. Since then, Trafigura has dismissed any responsibility, but has still paid a quarter billion dollars, most of which ($200 millions) was paid to the local government to protect the London-based company from ever being sued in Africa.