THE RED MUD AFFAIR, POLLUTION BETWEEN TWO SHORES
Behind the major historical events of the Mediterranean world
An episode from the series BORDERS
On the night of September 14, 1973, a powerful explosion shook the small Italian port of Follonica, on the Tuscan coast. At dawn, the carabinieri discovered the hull of a small oil tanker split open, releasing reddish-orange effluents, spreading a stench of ammonia throughout the town.
A communiqué from a clandestine organization, unknown until then, claimed responsibility. The attack was presented as the response of the Corsican people to the criminal actions of the Montedison company, an Italian conglomerate specialized in industrial chemical products, owner of the ship.
The "Red Mud" affair marked a decisive step in the fight against one of the most important ecological crimes of the end of the twentieth century and highlighted the inability of the French and Italian governments to grasp the scale of the disaster.