Toxic Waste Ship Sunk by the Mafia Found in Italy - At Least 32 More Suspected


Somewhere out there are more toxic waste ships waiting to be found. Photo: Peter Rohleder via flickr.

This may sound like a pretty good TV crime show plot, but this is non-fiction: Reuters reports that Italian authorities have discovered a ship containing 180 barrels of toxic waste (some of which may be radioactive), which was purposely sunk by the Mafia, off Italy's southern coast. What's more, it's suspected there are 32 more vessels waiting to be found:The ship was discovered after a former member of the 'Ndrangheta organized crime organization tipped off police -- the informant was personally responsible for sinking this ship and two others.

The 360'-long vessel is about 18 miles off the coast of Calabria, in 1600' of water. Based on TV images, at least one barrel has fallen off the ship and it now empty on the sea floor.

Since tighter environmental regulations in the 1980s, illegal dumping of toxic waste has been embraced by the Mafia as another lucrative income stream.

Mafia Has Used Somalia As Dumping Ground for 20 Years
Here's the broader connection here: Since the 1990s the Mafia have been known to dump toxic waste in the waters off Somalia -- where the utter lack of government means it costs one-tenth that of dumping in Europe. In 2004, toxic and radioactive waste washed up on Somali beaches, causing illness in local people. This toxic waste dumping is also cited by local fisherman as contributing to declining fish stocks in the region, thereby pushing people to piracy.

More: Reuters
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More on Toxic Waste Dumping & Illegal Fishing Helping Get Us Into a Piracy Mess in Somalia
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Short Documentary Shows Toxic Trail of "Recycled" E-Waste Leads Overseas

Tags: Italy | Oceans | Pollution

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