Sunday, June 08, 2008

Macedonia Policemen Ill from Toxic Cargo

Several Macedonian police officers have asked for medical help after being exposed to suspected toxic cargo stuck at the Macedonia-Kosovo border crossing.

The officers complained of coughing, suffocation, headache and increased blood pressure.

Macedonia’s Centre for Crisis Management said the officers were soon released home. Medical teams are checking other employees at the crossing.

There is no official information about the content of the cargo.

Media speculate that the three Bulgarian trucks stuck at the crossing’s customs terminal for four days are carrying a highly toxic and cancerous substance called Di Methyl Sulphate.

The substance that apparently leaks from the tanks is not advised to be stored in metal canisters for more than 20 days since it corrodes the metal.

On Saturday the trucks were returned from Kosovo after the authorities there found out about the suspicious cargo.

The trucks were supposed to carry car fuel from Iran to a Kosovo company. When the cargo arrived the company found the suspicious substance instead.

The cargo was sent back to Iran but Macedonia authorities demanded from Kosovo that the cargo should be properly stored first in order to pass through the country. The trucks were stuck at the terminal since Kosovo refused to take it back.

“We expect this to be returned and repackaged. Our position stays unchanged,” Macedonian government spokesman Ivica Bocevski told media Wednesday after the cabinet discussed the problem.

Police in Kosovo have previously arrested the owner of the company that ordered the import.

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