GAMBIA

Tuesday 31 October 2000

A wrecked foreign vessel, suspected to be carrying toxic waste, has been found near the Banjul port of Gambia. The toxic waste was meant to be dumped in Gambia's waters, the government officials said. According to allegations, the vessel was 'illegally and secretly' towed around and the port officials were offered thousands of us dollars as bribe to leave the 'toxic waste' vessel intact on Gambian waters.

The government authorities have stated that since there are regulations to be observed before the entry of any vessel into the country's territorial waters, it was careless on the part of certain port officials to let such an incident happen. The residents of Banjul have expressed 'grave' concern about the ships toxic content and the possibility of a leak. People said that it was against international environmental conventions for a wrecked foreign vessel laden with toxic matter to be abandoned in another country, especially when there is the potential danger of damage to life and the environment. An committee, comprising of the members of the National Environment Agency, Gambia police force, Gambia Ports Authority and other concerned state institutions, has been established to investigate the matter.

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