The end of the Probo Koala

7 Feb 2013

The Hua Wen, ex-Probo Koala is going to be demolished in the coming weeks in China. From August 2006 on, the scattering in Abidjan of desulphurization waste containing mercaptan and hydrogen sulphide has provoked a panic and the paralysis of Ivory Coast business capital. 16 fatalities were officially reported; the victims had been exposed to the toxic emanations. The toxic and stinky waste which had been unloaded from the Probo Koala slop tanks had illegally left Amsterdam and Tallinn, two North European ports (1).

Cutting torch time has come for the ex-Probo Koala. Since May 2011 and her fallen through sale for demolition in Bangladesh, the ship’s status had remained “to be broken up” in the world maritime databases but the Probo Koala kept sailing, exclusively in the Asian waters.

From Probo Koala to Gulf Jash

In May 2011, the ship, renamed Gulf Jash after the 2006 Abidjan disaster, was sold for demolition “en bloc” with the other members of the PROBO family – the OBO, Oil/ Bulk/Ore are able to carry liquid and solid bulk. Robin des Bois sent a warning to the Bangladeshi authorities about the sanitary risks for workers during scrapping, taking into account the story of the ship. So, the ex-Probo Koala was excluded from the Bangladesh territorial waters (2).

From Gulf Jash to Hua Feng

Whereas 4 members of the PROBO family were beached for demolition in India and Bangladesh, the ex-Probo Koala -renamed Gulf Jash – went into over time along with the ex-Probo Bear -renamed Gulf Riyad : both ships were sold to the Chinese “Pan Chinese Ocean Corp” and once more renamed, respectively Hua Feng and Pan Chinese n°1.

From Hua Feng to Hua Wen

Renamed Hua Wen in January 2012, the ex-Probo Koala left the Lloyd’s Register of Shipping in March 2012 and was from then on supervised by RINA. She mainly has been carrying ore from Indonesia to China. She called in Hong Kong in April 2012. Last October, sea conditions led her to anchor in a place of refuge off the Philippines shoreline with her nickel ore cargo. Then, she headed for Tianjin in Northern China.

hua-wen_pt2012-Robin-des-Bois-2013Hua Wen, Philippines, October 2012
© Bagong Aurora / Jason De Asis

On January 16, 2013, her class was suspended by RINA for non compliance to the recommendations. She just arrived in Taizhou ship-breaking yard, along the Yangtze River, where she met with the ex-Probo Bear now Hua Di.

The two ships will be demolished by Taizhou Weiye Scrapping & Rolling Co Ltd, 150 km upstream Shanghai. Considering their pungent past, Robin des Bois wishes sanitary measures be taken to protect the workers (3). A special attention should be paid to the dismantling of the slop tanks.


(1) The Probo Koala waste. Complete file (in French language only)

(2) Probo Koala : the death ship heading to the cemetery, May 17, 2011, 13h45 #24, (pdf – 2,95 Mo) Chapter The END

(3) Non exhaustive list of hazardous substances onboard or likely to be onboard (pdf)





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