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Mafia Sinks Ships Containing Toxic Waste

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the beware-mutant-fish dept.

Earth 401

Hugh Pickens writes "For years there have been rumors that the mafia was sinking ships with nuclear and other waste on board as part of a money-making racket. Now, BBC reports on a sunken vessel that has been found 30km off the coast of Italy. Murky pictures taken by a robot camera show the vessel intact, and alongside it are a number of yellow barrels with labels indicating the contents are toxic. The ship's location was revealed by Francesco Fonti, an ex-member of Calabria's feared 'Ndrangheta crime group, who confessed to using explosives to sink this vessel and two others as part of an illegal operation to bypass rules on the disposal of toxic waste. Experts are now examining samples taken from the wreck, and an official says that if the samples prove to be radioactive then a search for up to 30 other sunken vessels believed scuttled by the mafia would begin immediately. 'The Mediterranean is 0.7 percent of the world's seas. If in this tiny portion there are more than 30 (toxic waste) shipwrecks, imagine what there could be elsewhere,' says Silvestro Greco, head of Calabria's environment agency."

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401 comments

Obligatory? (1)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440523)

Those ships? Fuggedaboutit!

Re:Obligatory? (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441265)

rancesco Fonti, an ex-member of Calabria's feared 'Ndrangheta crime group, who confessed to using explitives to sink this vessel

Just got this picture of Joe Pesci yelling from a dingy until the vessel dissapeared underneath the waves just to get away from him.

No moral fibre (4, Insightful)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440525)

Fuck. Me. I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be a person with no moral fibre at all. I can't imagine it, must be weird.

Re:No moral fibre (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440695)

It's not that hard to imagine. Surely there is some part of you - some element(s) of your behaviour - that are driven by profit rather than regard for your fellow humans. It doesn't have to be big, consequential stuff; just think about those times when you're likely to act in your own self interest rather than the greater social good.

Now, imagine that those motivations make up 90% of your consciousness rather than the (hopefully smaller) percentage they currently do. It's an exercise in relativism, in thinking in degrees rather than absolutes.

Now spend some time exploring hypothetical situations and imagining how you would react. There's no need to change the basic elements of your personality, just tweak the motivational balance. Are you there? Can you imagine it?

Congratulations! You're a sociopath!

Re:No moral fibre (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440753)

Don't forget the element of excuses and justifications!

What can one little ship matter in such a big sea? Those government types are always making bizarre laws and nothing *that* bad ever happens anyway, does it?

Sure, it's gonna be fine! I'll just get rid of this for you, it's no big deal...

Re:No moral fibre (4, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441139)

Speaking of excuse and justification - This sounds like a good opportunity for the European Union to annex the countries on the northern edge of Africa, claim the Mediterranean Sea as an European inland sea, and bring an end to piracy with strong policing (as the Romans did 2000 years ago). We will, at last, know peace in our time. The Pax Europa.

Oh wait.
I forgot.
This is the EU not the U.S.

Re:No moral fibre (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441075)

>>>when you're likely to act in your own self interest rather than the greater social good.

Like when I find someone in my garage, trying to steal my car, and I slice them with my samurai sword in order to protect myself from harm. To me that thief has forfeited his right to freedom the moment he tried to steal ~1 year worth of my life (the value of the car), and he's forfeited his right to life the moment he tried to attack me. And no I wouldn't feel any guilt. In 50 years he would have been dead anyway, and today's as a good a day as any to be his Last day.

Re:No moral fibre (5, Informative)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440747)

Fuck. Me. I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be a person with no moral fibre at all. I can't imagine it, must be weird.

My wife's a psychologist and we have discussed such people. The answer to what it's like to be one is depressingly simple. They have no morals to trouble them at all; no conscience, no guilt. They're happy as if they had ethics and compassion.

There are people who are simply not like us; just not the same.

Re:No moral fibre (4, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440979)

Fuck. Me. I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be a person with no moral fibre at all. I can't imagine it, must be weird.

My wife's a psychologist and we have discussed such people. The answer to what it's like to be one is depressingly simple. They have no morals to trouble them at all; no conscience, no guilt. They're happy as if they had ethics and compassion.

There are people who are simply not like us; just not the same.

Well to be honest, morals and ethics are just trivial rules communally agrees upon by a society. We find it unethical, perhaps even immoral, to have sex with a 14 year old. But even our own society less than 200 years ago saw nothing unusual in 40 year old men marrying 14 year old girls.

Re:No moral fibre (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441045)

The particulars are, to a significant degree, matters of convention; but there is a big difference between people who convention has an inner hold on, and people who observe convention only under external compulsion, if at all.

Re:No moral fibre (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441111)

Well to be honest, morals and ethics are just trivial rules communally agrees upon by a society. We find it unethical, perhaps even immoral, to have sex with a 14 year old. But even our own society less than 200 years ago saw nothing unusual in 40 year old men marrying 14 year old girls.

Your example doesn't prove your point. The age limit varies, but all cultures would say an adult shouldn't have sex with a baby. And if we heard it was "normal" to do so in Country X, we would all say "that society has agreed on something that is, nevertheless, wrong."

You may disagree intellectually, but I'd bet money that your behavior shows you have a sense of absolute morals. If someone purposefully burned down your house, you wouldn't just be upset at the loss, and you wouldn't just observe that society benefits from locking up people who do that. You would feel in your gut that arson is wrong in a way that accidental fires are not - even though the result to you is the same. And anyone in any culture would agree with you.

Re:No moral fibre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29441151)

have to post ac or it kills my mod points used here.

morals and ethics are merely socially accepted, but not socially defined, which is a small but significant distinction. It is in that same way where people talk as if religion defined morals, but really people would have defined those morals with or without religion.

Re:No moral fibre (0, Troll)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441241)

Just because morals and ethics aren't absolute doesn't make them trivial. There are very good reasons why we find it immoral to have sex with a 14 year old today, just as there were very good reasons 40 year old men were marrying 14 year old girls hundreds of years ago.

Re:No moral fibre (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29441131)

I don't know about that. There are some genuinely defective individuals, but most people who make life miserable for others use one of two formulas to justify themselves:

"I did what I had to to survive"

"They would do the same to me if they had the chance"

Basically they have the idea that empathy is weakness and it is right to suppress it. I think that most of the people who act as if they have no morals are just acting because to show any gaps in that facade is viewed as equivalent to showing weakness.

Re:No moral fibre (3, Interesting)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441329)

There are people who are simply not like us; just not the same.

They may not be like us, but we are a lot more like "them" then we'd like to admit. Human decency and morality are slender threads keeping us from falling into the abyss. With the right motives and situation, they are easily severed (e.g. the Milgram experiment).

Re:No moral fibre (1, Troll)

andersa (687550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440915)

Fuck. Me. I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be a person with no moral fibre at all. I can't imagine it, must be weird.

Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] -

Fully 87.8% of Italians identified themselves as Roman Catholic

You shall kill.
You shall steal.

Re:No moral fibre (4, Insightful)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440917)

We sleep easier at night. Having a clean conscience and no conscience are effectively the same.

Something to think about (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441097)

This is something I think about all the time.

It could be argued that we are all immoral, because we are not interested in the consequences of our actions. The mafia crook dynamiting the ship with toxic waste isn't much different from an "waste resources" executive who bargains to send toxic waste to countries who need the money. One is exalted, one reviled, yet they both basically do the same thing. The executive simply pretends that the waste is properly disposed of in another country. The mafia crook doesn't kid himself. He knows the truth, and accepts it.

Which person is more immoral? Where does accountability figure into the equation? And where in a capitalist equation do you enter the morality quotient? Who enforces it?

These questions are simply not asked, because no one really wants the answer. For me, voluntary ignorance is immoral, and represents one of the great evils in the world today.

Wasn't this the plot of Men at Work?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29441099)

Imagine a world where all the movies from the early nineties come to pass. If suddenly we do have to live through movies from the 90's, here are some reasons to kill yourself now:
Battle field earth
Encino Man
MANY Batman's
Spice World

Tonight... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440529)

Toxic waste sleeps with the fishes...

Re:Tonight... (5, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440871)

Tomorrow you sleep with the fish-crab-dolphin hybrid monsters

Re:Tonight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29441031)

It would be like my very own Zoidberg

Re:Tonight... (3, Funny)

Shark (78448) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441257)

This might actually encourage some slashdotters to go into the toxic waste disposal business.

Re:Tonight... (2, Funny)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441183)

JIMMY: We got a problem, that thing we took care of out at sea
HENRY: (surprised) Paulie was just talking about it.
JIMMY: Well, we gotta fish it out again.
HENRY: (shocked) What?
JIMMY: The guy just made a deal. They're gonna do coral reef tours there and I don't want anybody finding that stuff.
HENRY: (horrified) It's been six months.
JIMMY: It's still better than letting somebody find it.
HENRY: (nodding in agreement and concerned) If Paulie finds out, we got problems.

hmmm (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29440543)

Actually organized crime in the US has also been linked to similar dumping, just not on that large a scale.

Corporations and the Mafia (5, Interesting)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440901)

The line between major corporations and the mafia is a grey one. Do we really think that if a major corporation could get away with this, that they wouldn't do it, if it contributed significantly to their bottom line? Corporate behavior is all about cost-benifit analysis. The mafia operates by a slightly different risk profile. It also seems likely that what we think of as the mafia owns substantial portions of equity in our major corporations.

Why do I think this comment is appropriate to the discussion? Because I watch the behavior of legitimate corporations and see similarities. Gold mining companies often create huge pools of arsenic waste. The oil sands companies in Canada create huge and persistent pools of massively polluted water, sucking away and polluting water that would have otherwise gone for agriculture or human consumption. Major shipping companies routinely dump their oil laden bilge water in the open ocean. How exactly does this behavior not fall under the category of "organized crime"?

Re:Corporations and the Mafia (5, Informative)

masonc (125950) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441215)

A few years ago, Royal Caribbean cruise line was found by the US coastguard to have fitted bilge bypass valves on their ships, allowing them to dump oily bilge water at sea with being detected, or so they thought. They were fined heavily for this. They didn't just do it as an afterthought or by accident, they intentionally refitted the ship to be able to do it, meaning the corporation actively intended to pollute the waters they were making their living from. Maybe the scale is different, but the intent is the same.

Re:Corporations and the Mafia (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441255)

The line between [governments] and the mafia is a grey one. Do we really think that if a [government] could get away with this, that they wouldn't do it? Of course they would. In fact the U.S. government is the worst polluter in North America, simply because they absolve themselves from having to follow the laws. And since anyone who dares complain can be easily ignored as non-important, the government doesn't care. It holds a monopoly both on the market and on individuals' wallets.

Re:Corporations and the Mafia (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441275)

Both exhibit hugely damaging behavior; but there are structural differences worth noting.

In broad strokes, organized crime exploits the niches created by legal prohibitions, while corporations exploit the niches created by legal allowances.

Bootlegging, drug running, cigarette smuggling, and illicit waste disposal are all activities that are profitable because they are either illegal, and thus have no legitimate competitors, or have legitimate competitors that operate under considerable restrictions or high taxes. In order to exploit these niches, mafias put resources into stealth and subversion of the law enforcement apparatus(bribing cops, planting informants, intimidating witnesses, etc.). They don't tend to try to alter the law(indeed, the law creates their profitable niche); but simply to evade, subvert, or blunt its enforcement on them.

Corporate activities tend to focus much more on subverting the law, rather than subverting the law enforcement. Lobbying for softball legislation(in particular, if an industry supports federal regulation of something, that probably means that some state's law pisses them off, and they want it preempted), exploiting loopholes(spinning off shell subsidiaries as owners of all your severely polluted sites, say), moving from country to country to find the most favorable regulatory conditions, buying supreme court justices [reuters.com], and the like; are all about exploiting, and where possible modifying, the structure of the law.

The two aren't completely distinct, obviously, and both use a mix of tactics(not a few corporations have used outright violence from time to time, and most mafias have substantial interests in legal areas of business); but there behaviors are hardly identical, even if the results sometimes are.

Any justice though? (4, Interesting)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440567)

So then what? Nothing happens to these people? If they are connected to this mess and convicted they should press them into service as part of the clean up process of all this crap. Make them work cleaning up the lethal crap they felt no qualms about exposing everyone else to.

Re:Any justice though? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440687)

I'd be somewhat surprised. The Italian state isn't a big fan of the mafia; but their effective hold can be pretty weak in some areas(good old WP reports that this particular mafia group turns over something like 3.5% of the GDP, so they obviously aren't hurting too badly). Worse, given that the mafia almost certainly didn't generate the waste in question, it is the sort of case that could probably lead back to a "legitimate" business, in Italy or abroad, that was all too willing to overlook a little fishiness in order to take advantage of Honest Enzo's Cut Price Waste Disposal.

They might get somebody, and I'd be pleasantly surprised if they did; but that is two strikes against the prospect.

Here's Your Justice Thingee (5, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440759)

If they are connected to this mess and convicted

Good luck with that, as they say. If it's anything like NYC, Justice will pretty much need two separate news crews, six NYPD detectives, nineteen passersby, and a televangelist to witness one of the "made men" machinegun down a busload of out-of-town nuns at high noon in Times Square on the day before Election Day to be served.

Then the appeals process begins...

Re:Any justice though? (2, Interesting)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440847)

Reminds me of a great line from The Way of the Gun - "Karma is only justice without the satisfaction, and I dont believe in justice."

I would agree that we fit the mafiosos with cement boots so they can assist in the cleanup, but its pretty simple really. They load up the ships with the toxic stuff under the guise of taking it to be "legally disposed" of...the ship "sinks" enroute..."Awww...but it sank! We cant do anything about it now!" Not exactly the oldest trick in the book...but its pretty old!

Re:Any justice though? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440921)

"Accidentally" spill that toxic waste into their jail cells, let them experience the fun of radiation death.

Re:Any justice though? (3, Interesting)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441019)

So did the state governments for those countries not know that toxic waste was on those ships when they were sank? If a shipping vessel is leaving a dock, doesn't it have to post a manifest?

Maybe the manifests were doctored so that the government thought the toxic waste made it safely to its destination on a different boat, and the sunk boat was carrying a bunch of olive oil. I guess that makes sense.

Man, I think I missed this episode of Captain Planet. Would the bad guy be the Pig-faced guy, the toxic waste girl, or the well-tailored poacher?

Typical psychopatic behaviour pattern (3, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440571)

"If it makes me $1000, I'll do it. That it will harm 10.000.000 people, it doesn't matter".

That said, nuclear waste is not necessarily the most dangerous imaginable. Believe it or not, the humble dioxines can be more dangerous. If for no other reason, because they accumulate in the body without ever leaving it (except for liposuction).

Re:Typical psychopatic behaviour pattern (1, Insightful)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440803)

That's not psychopathic, that's opportunistic. Or more simply, that's human nature.

Does not surprise (0, Troll)

citylivin (1250770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440593)

That whole country is corrupt as hell. Did you know that most merchants will claim their visa /debit machines are broken so you have to pay cash? Did you know that you have to pay 3+ euros in most places just to sit down?

A friend of mine went to italy and he says it was NOT worth it. There is so much crime, and even the "honest" shopkeeps constantly overcharge you, 10 euro for a fanta after you have already drank it, etc...

Re:Does not surprise (0, Offtopic)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440791)

I have to totally agree with you. My wife and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon last year. Left from Barcelona, Spain, hit Canne, France as well as two ports in Italy (one close to Pisa, one close to Rome). Fark. Italy. I had the most wonderful time in France. The people were super-nice (we made attempts to speak French, the locals seem to warm up to you if you make at least an attempt) in Canne. We want to live there sometime for 3-6 months. Italy? The worst place I've been (from a tourist perspective). I'm going back once more to hit Rome, and then never again for the rest of my life. That. bad.

Re:Does not surprise (1, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441107)

Well, since we are drawing conclusions from the individual experiences I'd like to say that my experience in Italy was nothing like what you or the parent describe. The only "crime" we were warned about was pickpocketing, which we never encountered (though we did take precautions against), the shopkeepers were honest and helpful and the people were extremely friendly. In fact the only rude people that I encountered in my two weeks there were all French and German tourists.

I loved my time in Italy. I would go back in a heartbeat. Maybe your problem was that you didn't get away from the tourist traps? I spent a week in Florence and another week in the Tuscan countryside. Other than a few of the museums in Florence none of our destinations were the usual tourist spots.

Random highlights of my trip to Italy:

1) Getting to drive for our group because our Italian driver/tour guide was afraid of the "big" vehicle (minivan) that we rented.
2) Getting to one-up the snobby French tourists that arrogantly assumed none of us spoke their language.
3) Learning to make tiramisu from scratch.
4) Drinking wine at lunch.
5) Drinking more wine at dinner.
6) Learning that many Italians also hate the French ;)
7) Getting to see recently unearthed Etruscan ruins.
8) Getting to see Lake Trasimene

Re:Does not surprise (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441165)

A friend of mine went to italy and he says it was NOT worth it. There is so much crime, and even the "honest" shopkeeps constantly overcharge you

Usually overcharging says more about the tourist than about the shopkeeper. Some people invite getting fleeced by being douchebags. I travel most of the year and have covered about half the globe already, and I'm never overcharged. That's probably because I learn some of the local language, stick to local norms of courtesy, and do some basic research instead of just being a blatant, obnoxious and naïve foreigner.

Re:Does not surprise (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441277)

That whole country is corrupt as hell.

They tolerate the Vatican. 'nuff said.

This is the GOVERNMENT's fault. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29440599)

If the government didn't want them to dump this waste out at sea, they would ease the restrictions on the disposal of toxic waste. Once again we witness how government regulation results in MORE pollution rather than less.

How do they get approved by the EPA? (-1, Offtopic)

Stu1706 (1392693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440609)

Don't you have to have some kind of license from the EPA to dispose of toxic waste? Did the producers of the waste not verify the license? There are not that many places to dispose of toxic waste. I am sure it was more than just the guys in the mafia who were in on this. I think the producers of the waste should be responsible for the clean up.

Um, they're in ITALY... (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440721)

EPA doesn't apply. The EPA is a United States government agency with no jurisdiction whatsoever in Italy.

EPA's Italian counterpart, however, does have jurisdiction and probably someone in that organization received some nice bribes.

Re:How do they get approved by the EPA? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29440733)

Yes, because obviously the Italian Mafia in ITALY has to have permission from the EPA, in the U.S.A., to do anything.

Re:How do they get approved by the EPA? (3, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440843)

Don't you have to have some kind of license from the EPA to dispose of toxic waste? Did the producers of the waste not verify the license? There are not that many places to dispose of toxic waste. I am sure it was more than just the guys in the mafia who were in on this. I think the producers of the waste should be responsible for the clean up.

Well... First of all I don't think the EPA has jurisdiction over Italy.

Second, they're the Mafia, I don't think they worry all that much about legality.

Third, I kind of thought that the whole reason this was a story was because it was illegal.

Re:How do they get approved by the EPA? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440957)

Don't you have to have some kind of license from the EPA to dispose of toxic waste? Did the producers of the waste not verify the license?

Please tell us you aren't that naïve; this is the real world not the world as you think it should be or would like it to be.

Re:How do they get approved by the EPA? (3, Informative)

cusco (717999) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441041)

For years one of Haiti's largest industries was the receiving of waste too toxic for even the most high-tech of US processors to handle. Of course that was one of Baby Doc's businesses, and equally obviously there was no waste-processing facility adequate for the task in Haiti, but that never stopped DOW or any of the other mega-corps that paid them to take the stuff away. The EPA only cares if the waste is going to be disposed of in the US, if it's going elsewhere they don't really care much. Their responsibility stops at the edge of their jurisdiction. I rather suspect that most of the European environmental bureaucracies function much the same, with exceptions for obvious issues like acid rain.

Re:How do they get approved by the EPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29441211)

All of my sibling posts seem to gloss over the meat of the argument and instead focusing on the USA != Italy part.

He's saying that the producers of the waste should be responsible for the cleanup, for not verifying the credentials of the people paid to dispose of the waste.

The problem, though, is that the government itself is corrupt, and most likely the "company" (a shell company that probably would turn up no connections to anybody or any money) had completely legitimate documentation acquired through bribes. There's no way that the producers of the waste could know about the fraud.

A war is a brewing! (3, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440613)

The Mafia vs. GreenPeace and ELF! And since they're harming animals, PETA should hop on board.

Just imagine those waify PETA chicks getting all mad and kicking the big bruiser mafia guys asses!

Who is paying them? (4, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440693)

I don't have a hard time imagining crooked corporations paying to have their chemical waste disposed under the table like this, but who has nuclear waste that would do this? At least here in the US I can't see a power plant getting away with this - they have to keep close account of their material and it is audited pretty closely as well. That would leave mostly medical and scientific sources. I suppose they don't dispose of that directly so the company they paid to take care of it must be crooked.

The people that made this decision deserve to fry. Too bad it is impossible to create a justice system that I would actually trust to make those sort of decisions.

Re:Who is paying them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29440769)

Bingo. The waste probably has some sort of originating marker on it - find out where it came from, bill the cost of cleanup to the facility, and lock up the people responsible.

Re:Who is paying them? (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440937)

The people responsible are going to be sipping Martinis in the Caribbean long after some poor schmucks are made the scapegoats for this.

Re:Who is paying them? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440973)

But is that the right thing to do?

I'm willing to bet that there are cases where the company did send it to a responsible waste management company, and then they were over book so they sent it to another company. Eventually it made it to a corrupt place.

Re:Who is paying them? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440923)

they have to keep close account of their material and it is audited pretty closely as well.

I think this will prove to be the key issue.

I doubt if anyone's got a receipt from the Mafia. I doubt if there's a signed contract to dispose of ## barrels of toxic waste illegally.

Either there's no paper trail at all, or there's been enough bribery and forgery to make that paper trail borderline useless.

Re:Who is paying them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29440931)

Although, as you said, it's hard to imagine nuclear power plants in North America being able to get away with disposing their waste in such a shady fashion, I wouldn't be surprised if powerplants in Russia or Central Asia were able to. There's lots of shady business going on there, and the governments watching it all ain't too straight either. The reason I'm mentioning powerplants is because I can't imagine anyone else producing nuclear waste in such massive quantities so as to have shipfulls to sink.

Re:Who is paying them? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440947)

I don't have a hard time imagining crooked corporations paying to have their chemical waste disposed under the table like this, but who has nuclear waste that would do this?

I'm not sure they meant "nuclear waste" as in "nuclear reactor waste", or "nuclear waste" as in "radioactive waste". Medical waste can be radioactive... Some of the clinical diagnostic equipment produces radioactive waste.

Re:Who is paying them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29440999)

More than likely it was completely legal.

The waste disposal company they dealt with was a mafia front, bribed the right people for a license then collected payments and sank it rather than spend the money on the disposal process. Basically a huge profit for them since the companies were paying millions for disposal and all it cost the mob was an old junky boat and the cost to have the stuff picked up and loaded.

Re:Who is paying them? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441087)

Doesn't even have to be crooked ones. You put up a legit-looking front and you can get even the good guys' waste floating in the sea. It's got to be a nightmare PR scenario for any company that might have toxic waste to dispose.

Re:Who is paying them? (2, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441193)

Anything that is used to handle radioactive materials will be assumed to be radioactive as well. Our local chemistry department actually has a dustbin with a radioactive sign on it. Anything used to handle something with a radioactive sign on it is automatically to have become radioactive as well - technicians gloves, wipes, syringes, tubing, sample containers and dissolved solutions. Other things might include the cobalt in medical scanners and industrial quality control equipment.

We's only addin' numbahs to other numbahs, boss! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29440761)

There's only 24 ships! 24 is the highest numbah!

The mob in italy (1)

spacefight (577141) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440773)

What I could never understand is why italy isn't able to clean out the mob more efficiently. Stories like this one though explains a lot...

Re:The mob in italy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29440831)

Because they will kill the prosecutors that try.

Re:The mob in italy (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440977)

Corruption? When all the people in charge are on one mob or another's payroll they're not going to WANT fixing that problem.

Re:The mob in italy (0)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441043)

What I could never understand is why italy isn't able to clean out the mob more efficiently.

They could always send them to Gitmo.......but then, they might violate their human rights.

Re:The mob in italy (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441301)

Because, in Southern Italy, the mafia has taken over a lot of the roles more commonly associated with a government (given that they are not a government, this presumably makes Southern Italy a Libertarian Utopia). Removing them is not easy when they are entrenched into every layer of society. In some places they actually receive higher approval ratings than the government; they don't interfere too much with the general populous and the protection money that they pay actually does buy them protection (what the Mafia will do to you if you rob a shop that is under their protection is a lot more of a deterrent to petty thieves than what the police will do to you, and the Mafia are a lot more likely to catch you because they also control the fences you would use to shift the stolen goods).

Reprocessing nuclear waste? (2, Interesting)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440779)

Is it possible that these mafia people are stupid? Imagine we can reprocess nuclear waste, in many of the ways that slashdotters will include below. Now this nuclear waste conveniently stored underwater, is fuel that we can use to power our toys with. This is assuming that there wasn't any damage to the containers, and a big cleanup isn't required. Hopefully, when the world comes to its senses, and makes better use of its resources, we won't have these kinds of problems. (It always drives me crazy that there are organizations that will burn or throw away or sequester potentially useful materials. Sure mercury is poisonous. Extract it from your waste, and sell it to someone that needs it. The same with CO2, and even radon. I wonder about gold production from mining landfills.)

Re:Reprocessing nuclear waste? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29441001)

Well, it all depends on money. If it costs me $10 per pound to extract the mercury, and I can sell it for $20 per pound, you can bet your ass I'd do it. But if I can only get $2 per pound selling it, I'd rather spend $1 per pound dumping it.

Connection to Somali piracy (5, Interesting)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440781)

This has long been suspected, and there's a connection to Somali piracy. The mysterious blogger "TokyoTom" has an excellent summary [mises.org] of the research indicating that European companies were using the lack of a government in Somali to dump toxic waste illegally near the coast of Somali, which really wreaked havoc after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, which washed a lot of the crap onshore and caused mass illness.

There were always suspicious that this illegal dumping was a money source for the Mafia, although even legit businesses seem to have no problem with it. I don't defend Somali pirates, but people forget that it originated from fishers trying to get illegal dumpers to leave the area, then to try to get compensation for what the dumpers did. This doesn't justify piracy, but it does give lie to the notion that they lack a legitimate grievance and are simply out for money, and it helps to explain why they enjoy such support from Somalians.

I'm surprised the Mafia didn't screw up so bad sooner.

Re:Connection to Somali piracy (1)

spacefight (577141) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440881)

I'm surprised the Mafia didn't screw up so bad sooner.

I think they didn't screw up so bad, I mean nothing will happen anyway out of it, italia will stay corrupt as ever. I can't imagine how that would weaken the mafias position at all...

Re:Connection to Somali piracy (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441305)

There's some truth to that. Here's another source [spiegel.de]. A lot of the pirates were originally fishermen. Somalia had one of the most diverse and productive waters prior to the dumping and overfishing by foreigners.

Make them eat the fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29440789)

Make them and their children eat the fish that swim around the wrecks.

Give them a map (1)

fataugie (89032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440813)

Step 1: To the coast of Somalia and let the pirates seize the ship.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit!!!

Problem solved

Re:Give them a map (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441057)

Step 2a: Somali Pirates get radiation poisoning
Step 2b: Repeat until no more pirates.
Step 2c: Ship without fear of pirates

ignorant bastards! (3, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440873)

i hope they soon realize the next time they order fish in a restaurant that the fish comes from the same ocean that they sunk those ships, all that water circulates so pollution one part of the ocean gets around to the rest...

Re:ignorant bastards! (1, Offtopic)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441299)

After years of living in New Jersey, most of these greaseballs are probably immune to pollution.

Obligatory film tip: Gomorra (3, Informative)

photonic (584757) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440889)

To get a good impression of 'Ndrangheta's involvement with toxic waste, go see Gomorra [imdb.com]. Excellent movie, even though it is somewhat depressing to realize that is based on reality.

Oblig Simpsons reference (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440925)

Mafia Ship (to the gambling/whorehouse ship in International Waters): We didn't see nothin' if you didn't see nothin'

Strange Reasoning.. (5, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440935)

The Mediterranean is 0.7 percent of the world's seas. If in this tiny portion there are more than 30 (toxic waste) shipwrecks, imagine what there could be elsewhere,' says Silvestro Greco, head of Calabria's environment agency.

Isn't that like saying "OMG, this chainsaw massacre crime scene is just .00000000000000000001% of the earth's surface, so if there's 5 dismembered bodies here just imagine how many more there could be elsewhere?! You should totally give my Agency more money."

Re:Strange Reasoning.. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441213)

No, because the Mediterranean is actually 0.7% of the world's seas, whereas 0.00000000000000000001% of the Earth's surface is 0.05 square millimeters, which is an unbelievably small crime scene.

They may be on to something (1)

LowlyWorm (966676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29440955)

a subduction zone might be a good place for nuclear waste.

Re:They may be on to something (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441049)

A feeder breeder reactor might be a good place for "nuclear waste" AKA "unspent nuclear fuel".

I know, I know, I am a nuclear evangelist.

Motherfucking Tony (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29441059)

Now you did it. This calls for the death match of the Calabria mafia vs. Green Jihad. I have never thought I'd side with the annoying jihadis.

imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29441119)

'The Mediterranean is 0.7 percent of the world's seas. If in this tiny portion there are more than 30 (toxic waste) shipwrecks, imagine what there could be elsewhere,'

4,285 sunken ships. ish.

Only a Bit Worse than the US Navy (1)

rocker_wannabe (673157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441135)

The US Navy had dumped waste of all kinds in deep ocean trenches off the coast of California for years. I'm sure they have stopped now but the total to date had to be WAY more than the mafia have dumped.

There are ticking time-bombs of toxic waste that are just waiting for the ocean to eat through the barrels so they can kill massive amounts of wildlife. They are so deep that it would probably be very expensive, if it's even possible, to recover the waste. I wish I could include a link to some authoritative site that will confirm the information but it's not the kind of information that our government wants to publicize. I only found out about it through someone who was in charge of hazardous waste management at a major defense research company.

It's a nightmare scenario if ever there was one.

imagine (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441145)

'The Mediterranean is 0.7 percent of the world's seas. If in this tiny portion there are more than 30 (toxic waste) shipwrecks, imagine what there could be elsewhere,' says Silvestro Greco,

Hmm, 30 is 0.7% of 4290 so if 30 is the average number of toxic vessels in the ocean were screwed. I think we need a bigger sample size, and perhaps a less bias sample size.

Just imagine that it could be anywhere from 0 to something less than infinite. We should give this guy money to find out.

Why is this bad? (0)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441259)

I can understand that there *might* be some problems if you dump some really poisonous stuff in a shallow sea (surely, even the Mediterranean has enough water to dilute any poisons beyond detection), but what's the problem with dumping radioactives? This is usually solid stuff, that will stay exactly where you put it. It's also encased in barrels, which in this sunken ship are still intact. The bottom of the ocean sounds like a pretty darn good place to put this stuff. If you avoid upwellings, where most of the ocean life exists, the rest of the ocean is a barren desert. No nitrogen - no plankton - no fish. So go out there and sink all this waste to some deep trench. Ten thousand years later it will all be harmless and we can mine it and make cars from it or something.

In other news... (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29441295)

Donations to the "Francesco Fonti And His Family And Their Pets Memorial Fund" can be sent to their former neighbours in Calabria.
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