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Mafia Sinks Ships Containing Toxic Waste 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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