First Published: 2008-07-26

 
UN envoy decries waste dumping off Somalia
 

Reports suggest European companies dump toxic waste off Somalia coast after paying corrupt Somali ministers.

 

Middle East Online

Abdallah: ‘It is a disaster off the Somali coast’

UNITED NATIONS - The UN special envoy for Somalia on Friday sounded the alarm about rampant illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of the lawless African nation.

"Because there is no (effective) government, there is so much irregular fishing from European and Asian countries," Ahmedou Ould Abdallah told reporters.

He said he had asked several international non-governmental organizations, including Global Witness, which works to break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, corruption, and human rights abuses worldwide, "to trace this illegal fishing, illegal dumping of waste."

"It is a disaster off the Somali coast, a disaster (for) the Somali environment, the Somali population," he added.

Ould Abdallah said the phenomenon helps fuel the endless civil war in Somalia as the illegal fishermen are paying corrupt Somali ministers or warlords for protection or to secure fake licenses.

East African waters, particularly off Somalia, have huge numbers of commercial fish species, including the prized yellowfin tuna.

Foreign trawlers reportedly use prohibited fishing equipment, including nets with very small mesh sizes and sophisticated underwater lighting systems, to lure fish to their traps.

"I am convinced there is dumping of solid waste, chemicals and probably nuclear (waste).... There is no government (control) and there are few people with high moral ground," Ould Abdallah added.

Allegations of waste dumping off Somalia by European companies have been heard for years, according to Somalia watchers. The problem was highlighted in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami when broken hazardous waste containers washed up on Somali shores.

But world attention has recently focused on piracy off Somalia, which has taken epidemic proportions since the country sank into chaos after warlords ousted the late president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Piracy had come to a virtual halt under the rules of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), who took strict measures against the pirates, but since Ethiopian troops helped oust the ICU, the phenomenon returned to Somali shores.

Somalia's coastal waters are now considered to be among the most dangerous in the world, with more than 25 ships seized by pirates there last year despite US navy patrols, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Some Somali pirates have reportedly claimed to be acting as "coastguards" protecting their waters from illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste.

Ould Abdallah cited the case of a Spanish trawler captured by pirates while illegally fishing for tuna off Somalia in April.

He said payment of a ransom for the release of the crew "was done in a very sophisticated manner" with the pirates arranging by phone "to be paid in Macau."

The Spanish government said in late April that it paid no ransom to secure the release of the crew of the Playa de Bakio after six days of captivity. But Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya chapter of the Seafarers Assistance Program then said a ransom of 1.2 million dollars (768,000 euros) was paid.

On Friday, Estonia urged the European Union to take stronger action against Somali pirates attacking cargo ships bound for Europe, after an Estonian sailor was held hostage for 41 days.

On Sunday pirates seized a 52,000-tonne Japanese vessel and its 21 crew members off the Somali coast.

 

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Sadly no survivors on Air Algerie flight crash

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Another bloody day as Israel targets civilians in UN-run school

‘Islamic State’ launches multiple attacks on Syria army

Attack on Egypt army post bears fingerprints of foreign intelligence

Harassment of Christians escalates in Islamist-run Sudan

Air Algerie plane goes missing over Mali

Algeria plane with many French nationals on board vanishes over Mali

Iraqi protesters denounce treatment of minority Christians

Iraq elects Kurdish politician as federal president

Russia begins supplying military equipment to Iraq

Air Algerie plane contact lost over west Africa

South Sudan warring sides to resume peace talks

Baghdad closer to breaking political limbo

Spectacular attack on Iraq prisoner convoy

Gaza death toll passes 700 mark

Mladenov pleads for UN help to end IS 'atrocities' in Iraq

Hamas hails suspension of Israel flights as 'great victory'

Lebanon army records first case of desertion to join Syria Nusra Front

Iraq gunmen kill female former candidate for parliament

Kerry cites ‘some steps forward’ in Gaza truce efforts

Turkey hunts for nine intelligence officers in wire-tapping probe

Suspension of hostilities in Gaza to allow medical assistance

Assassination of famed Somali musician and lawmaker

Sisi defends Egypt in trying to broker Gaza truce

Syria welcomes nomination of Staffan de Mistura as new UN envoy

Iraq lawmakers stall presidential election as violence yields grim crop of bodies

Yemen president calls for unity

Etihad helps Jet Airways return to profit

Is Tunisia returning to old regime censorship?

Qatar emir in unannounced visit to Saudi

HRW: Iraq air strikes wreaking awful toll on civilians

Kuwait revokes pro-opposition TV, newspaper licences

Twin suicide bombing shakes Libya's Benghazi