A Romanian ship carrying around 150 containers of toxic waste has been refused entry and permission to unload the chemicals at multiple ports along the coast of China, including Macau.
After being denied permission to unload its cargo in Shanghai, Macau and then Hong Kong, it was rumored that the ship’s crew had set sail for Port Klang in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, denied the rumors, asserting that the ship had not arrived in Port Klang as it had been prevented from leaving the Hong Kong port.
According to the minister, local authorities had received a warning from Hong Kong that the ship could be heading in the country’s direction.
“We got a tip-off from the Hong Kong authorities and I immediately informed the maritime police and other agencies to stop the ship from leaving Hong Kong. The ship did not reach out waters,” said Wan, as cited by Free Malaysia Today.
After being refused permission to unload in Shanghai and Macau, “the ship then headed towards the port in Hong Kong. […] Authorities then came aboard and conducted a check on the containers and after investigations they discovered the hazardous materials and did not allow the vessel to unload,” he added.
The crew then decided to try their luck in Malaysia, hoping to go undetected by splitting the cargo into a greater number of smaller containers.
However, the minister informed Hong Kong environmental authorities that Malaysian authorities would “not allow the ship to enter our waters and the vessel should not be allowed to leave Hong Kong port.”
Wan said that the ship had been carrying some 150 containers of toxic waste, suspected to contain arsenic and cadmium.
This was not the first time that a foreign ship has tried to unload its toxic cargo illegally in Malaysia. Previous incidents have resulted in costly lawsuits filed against companies by the Malaysian government. DB