View Full Version : I am sick of it

martin schulz
11-18-2002, 10:32 AM
http://photo.worldnews.com/PhotoArchive//afp/2002/11/16/Images_sciences_SGE.QNT97.151102213716.photo00.def ault-245x181_large.jpg

Oil tanker leak puts birds at risk

November 18, 2002


MADRID--Hundreds of thousands of birds are at risk as an estimated 3,000 tons of oil from a ruptured tanker began washing up on the coast of Spain on Sunday.

Several hundred volunteers joined ecologists in a rescue operation to save gulls and cormorants covered in oil on the 25-mile stretch of coast. Experts warned that up to 200,000 migratory birds could also be at risk.

Salvage teams took advantage of calm seas to tow the Greek-owned Prestige more than 60 miles farther out to sea on orders of the Spanish government. The tanker was carrying 70,000 tons of oil when it was hit by storms last week off Galicia's "Coast of Death."

Floating oil barriers and pumping systems are being used to try to stop any more oil from reaching the shore.

Smit Salvage, the firm trying to keep the tanker from breaking up, said a 32-foot gash below the waterline had not widened and no more oil was leaking.

The spill has caused a fishing ban in the area, putting the livelihoods of 4,500 fishermen at risk.

The Prestige's captain, Apostolos Maguras, who was evacuated from the ship along with the rest of the crew Friday, was taken before a judge in La Coruna on Sunday after being arrested for allegedly failing to cooperate in the salvage operation.

Daily Telegraph

Again there is a oil-catastrophy. And again it is an old (apparently with 26 years too old) tanker that threatens to brake apart. Again the owner doesn't care. Again they are holding the captain responsible. Again the insurance companies will probably cover the "accident". Again the owner will get away free.

It is so frustrating. I just saw a documentary on Spains fishermen who work at that coast and now 1 week later they don't what to do. There is no way except fishing to make a living there.

When will anybody start putting ethics before profit? This profit-orientated society creates nothing great - just destruction in one form or the other. I don't care if anyone here thinks I am a german-socialist-freak, but there must be a way out of that destructive pattern.

Greg H
11-18-2002, 10:48 AM
I'm with you Martin. But, I have no answer. My country seems to have abandoned any interest in the environment, unless there is an easy profit to be made from exploitation of it.

Ian G Wright
11-18-2002, 12:40 PM
Someone asked, if a tanker full of detergent sprang a leak would they spray it with crude oil?


11-18-2002, 12:51 PM
As a small step, since 1997 here in the U.S., all new tankers must be built with double hulls to avoid leaking oil if the hull is punctured. (I think there is something like 3 feet between the hull & the tanks.)

Alan D. Hyde
11-18-2002, 12:55 PM
Capitalism and contamination of the environment do not go hand-in-hand. In fact, historically, as Milton Friedman and others have convincingly shown, truly free markets tend to reconcile individual ambition with public good. (A recent best-seller, Who's Afraid of Adam Smith has stressed the connection between capitalism and moral philosophy.)

The greatest damage to the environment internationally has come at the hands of totalitarian socialist governments such as that of the Soviet Union. We capitalists did less damage, and have cleaned up more of the damage we did do.


11-18-2002, 02:14 PM
Actually, it is not a very big spill. The clue is in the words "...potentially twice as bad as the Exxon Valdez disaster!" used on BBC radio this morning. The Exxon Valdez did not spill much oil; she spilled it in a very sensitive area, which the Altantic off the coast of Spain is not.

Any self-righteousness by the Spanish should be met with "What about the Castillio de Belver?" which dumped eight times as much oil in the South Atlantic and Spanish fishermen are far, far worse environmental bandits than tanker owners - even the worst tanker owners. To be quite honest, an oil spill that puts those ..... out of business for a few days is an environmental blessing. But don't worry about them - the EU - which means you and I, Martin, will be paying them compensation any minute.

A BBC check on fish being sold in Spanish markets showed two thirds of them to be under sized according to the EU's own regulations.

Meanwhile, the EU Transport Commissioner, Loyola de Palacio, a Spanish woman, has castigated Britain because the ship was not checked in Gibraltar, a port she has visted once for six hours in the past three years, and has said nothing about her own Government's refusal to allow the salvors to bring her into a Spanish port as a port of refuge.

Alan D. Hyde
11-18-2002, 03:08 PM
The part about double bottoms is also misleading, as ACB well explained on another thread...


11-18-2002, 04:03 PM
Is there something about the way Greeks run their ships? Some years ago a Greek owned tanker went onto Nantucket Shoal and broke up. It turned out that she was 15 miles off the ship channel and was still using a very old Sperry Gyroscope compass that the USCG refers to as a "Bouncing Betty".

11-18-2002, 04:21 PM
Originally posted by ahp:
Is there something about the way Greeks run their ships? Some years ago a Greek owned tanker went onto Nantucket Shoal and broke up. It turned out that she was 15 miles off the ship channel and was still using a very old Sperry Gyroscope compass that the USCG refers to as a "Bouncing Betty".I am going to be VERY careful here! For one thing, my friend Dr Nikos Mikelis, who is Greek, works for the family company of the current Chairman of the Union of Greek Shipowners and is himself the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Independent Tanker Owners Association.

It is a curious fact that very many merchant ships are owned in Greece, and very many are owned in Norway. Both countries have some very fine companies who run their ships very well. Both countries also have some companies who try to run their ships on a shoe string budget and who treat their sea staff badly. It is simply an effect of quantity. There are some US, some Canadian, some British and some Australian shipping companies, but not many. There are very many Greek, German and Norwegian shipping companies.

I might point out that not so very long ago, much more recently than the Nantucket Shoals case, a US flag, ABS classed, USCG inspected, all-American manned LASH ship caused a good deal of pollution, some miles further south, when a large piece of her side shell plating fell off, due to corrosion!

That is not an attack on the US merchant marine, just a way of pointing out that there are good and bad ships owned in many countries!

11-18-2002, 11:36 PM
Despite the many points of view I agree for the most part with Martin's original comments. What other huge industry is run with so few safeguards, or meaningful inspections by accountable organizations?

11-19-2002, 01:02 AM
I feel for the Spanish fishermen as individuals. On the other hand we are trying to allow our cod stocks on the east coast to recover. Yet Basque, Spanish, French and other factory ships are still taking everything they can just into international water and sometimes inside of our waters. So I have a little less empathy when Spain starts crying foul.


martin schulz
11-19-2002, 04:09 AM
No - profit-making is NOT a capitalist invention. You will find people who profit on the exploitation of their own people, or the environment in every modern society. Checked by laws and regulations the most criminal acts can be controlled in our western societies, but the "evil" (whew a bit too dramatic here) remains. Look at ourselves. When we get the chance to make some big money we don't ask twice whether the business does harm to nature or other people (only if it is too apparent).

So, if a guy (in Greece, Germany, Norway, or elsewhere) figures he can make some bucks by buying a 26 year old tanker from the junkyard he will end up doing large scale damage to nature, but actually isn't worse than us throwing away a plastic-bottle in the forest.

The age of enlightenment liberated us from the bonds of superstitions and ignorance, but by putting reason and science above all, we obviously have lost our relation to nature. Our credo is - what can be done, will/should be done.

J****, I sound like a freaking ecological-socialist, which I am not. What I wanted to say here is that this incident proofs that we need to focus more on what is actually important and what is not. Making as much money as possible to buy a fifth Rolls - is not important.

11-19-2002, 05:13 AM
Well, now she's broken in two, a hundred miles out into the Atlantic.

Whose fault is that? Undoubtedly the fault of the Spanish Government - had they allowed the salvage company to bring her into a Spanish port, when they were first asked for permission to do so, she would now be safe and only 3,000 tons of her cargo would have spilled.

As it is, a lot more cargo will be spilled - possibly all of it.

Jim D - do you mean the oil industry per se or the tanker industry?

[ 11-19-2002, 05:16 AM: Message edited by: ACB ]

Wayne Jeffers
11-19-2002, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by Alan D. Hyde:
Capitalism and contamination of the environment do not go hand-in-hand. . . .Alan,

Anyone who is old enough to remember how polluted our air and water was before the environmental laws of the 1960's will quickly recognize how disingenuous that statement truly is. I am not much persuaded by the fact that the environmental damage in totalitarian countries is even worse. Lifeless, iridescent rivers which would occasionally catch afire and factories belching untold tons of toxic smoke were all too common here in the U.S.A.

Historically, capitalist stewardship of common resources is almost as rare as hen's teeth. Exploitation was the rule and will soon be the rule again in the absence of enforcement of environmental laws.

Under the current administration, enforcement of environmental laws and cleanup of toxic waste sites will soon be a thing of the past. The Justice Department has recently taken the novel position that filling in entire river valleys in West Virginia with mountaintops sheared off to get at the coal is not offensive to the Clean Water Act's prohibition of dumping waste into waterways. :mad:


Alan D. Hyde
11-19-2002, 11:25 AM
Wayne, perhaps I should have said that such abuse was not uniquely capitalist; it has happened in every industrialized society.

I am well aware how bad things were; I knew Ian McHargue, Victor Yannacone, Ralph Nader and other early environmental crusaders in the late sixties, and cannot deny that much clean-up was needed.

This is a human problem, not a capitalist problem. It's like alcoholism: arguments can be made as to why there's more in one society or less in another, but no modern society is entirely free of it.


Don Olney
11-19-2002, 12:06 PM
Those remarks were breathtakingly disingenuous, contradicting as they do, nearly 250 years of human experience since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. But Alan has a card up his sleeve (that he's used before) -- that card is a variation on the old "No True Scotsman" fallacy. The standard example is:

"Suppose I assert that no Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge. You counter this by pointing out that your friend Angus likes sugar with his porridge. I then say "Ah, yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."

If Alan's assertion ("Capitalism and contamination of the environment do not go hand-in-hand... truly free markets tend to reconcile individual ambition with public good") is easily and effectively challenged by pointing out endless examples of environmental contamination due to capitalism/free markets, he can always fall back on the qualification, "but in 'truly free markets' this tends not to happen."

See also fallacies related to Ad Hoc arguments and Begging the Question.

Alan D. Hyde
11-19-2002, 01:39 PM
Don, I perhaps expressed myself poorly (please see my above response to Wayne), but what I meant to indicate is that there is nothing inherent in capitalism that especially promotes environmental pollution, which has been associated with all industrialized societies.

"We have elected a Republic Congress, and now it's raining. Therefore, Republicanism causes rain." That is the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy, and that is what I was directing my comments against.


Dave Fleming
11-19-2002, 01:42 PM
Tanker in question is moot point now.
Broke in half and is sinking according to the NY Times.

11-19-2002, 01:49 PM
Sunk. Watch for the now customary display of grandstanding and self righteousness by European politicians and officials.

Alan D. Hyde
11-19-2002, 02:00 PM
Andrew, doesn't a vessel in distress have a right to enter the nearest port to make necessary repairs?


Dave Fleming
11-19-2002, 02:07 PM

November 19, 2002
Storm-Hit Oil Tanker Sinks Off Spain, Threatening Catastrophe

ADRID, Nov. 19 — In a sinking foretold by anxious environmentalists and fishermen, the crippled tanker Prestige, carrying more than 77,000 tons of fuel oil, split in two and sank in the Atlantic Ocean 133 miles off the Spanish coast, threatening to cause an environmental catastrophe in the area's rich fishing grounds.

The aft sank at around lunchtime, leaking fuel oil into waters already stained by a slick that has followed the ship on its tortuous journey out to sea, but the fore remained afloat for several more hours before finally sinking beneath the waves just before nightfall.

There were no immediate signs that the ship had shed its entire load.

Optimists hope that the sinking, in waters 11,800 feet deep, will avert any further pollution, arguing that the fuel should solidify and rest on the bottom.

But environmentalists fear that the ship's tanks could burst on the way down, exacerbating a situation they already classify as "catastrophic" for Spain's northwest region of Galicia.

The crisis, played out in agonizingly slow motion for almost a week amid foul weather, recriminations and political fallout, has prompted the European Commission to demand that European Union member states speed up implementation of new maritime safety rules agreed in 1999 after the Erika spilled 11,000 tons of fuel off Brittany.

Spain, which blames the British colony of Gibraltar for the crisis on the ground that the aging tanker was headed there, has also tussled with Portugal, both countries insisting that the other now take responsibility for the Prestige.

The ship's Greek managers, Universe Maritime, held back from criticizing Madrid's decision to haul the ship as far away as possible from Galicia, rather than offering a port of refuge where the tanker might have been repaired and its cargo offloaded with a minimum of damage.

"The fact that the vessel did have to go out 120 miles into some fairly hostile conditions has no doubt contributed to the situation we are in, but one has to look at it from an environmental point of view," a spokesman said. "It's a brave politician who says perhaps the best thing to do is to beach her."

Environmentalists, and even Galician fishermen interviewed by the Spanish news media, were not so sure.

"No one knew how long the ship could survive, but the time and the conditions have been in place since last Wednesday to transfer the cargo to another ship and avoid this problem," said Luis Suárez of the Worldwide Fund for Nature-Adena. "It was not done and we don't know why not, it does not seem logical."

Mariano Rajoy, the deputy prime minister and a native of Galicia, toured the region on Monday by helicopter, seeing miles of cliffs and beaches stained black by the evil-smelling tar leaked by the Prestige last week.

Several other slicks threaten pristine stretches of coastline north and south of the area that has been already hit, and thousands of fishermen fear for their livelihoods.

Galicia is an important source of shellfish, producing mussels, clams, crabs and the exotic and highly-prized goose barnacles, which look prehistoric and grow on rocks at the shoreline. Christmas is the most important period for the fishermen, who say compensation payments simply cannot make up for their losses.

Prices have already risen to reflect a ban on fishing in the affected area, with goose barnacles selling for an exorbitant $120 a kilo.

Mr. Rajoy told reporters that the government's action had averted "a greater catastrophe," and that the impact of the incident "is less 145 miles out than near the shore."

He added that Portugal and Spain were cooperating to resolve the problem, though as the ship moved out to sea Lisbon and Madrid each claimed the other had responsibility for the Prestige.

Its managers say that on Monday night a Portuguese destroyer insisted that the ship turn west, away from Portuguese waters, and on to a course the salvage team had not chosen; "and then we see the ship breaking up," added the spokesman.

The managers also defend the ship's captain, who has been jailed by the Spanish authorities, accused of failing to cooperate with the salvage operation.

Spanish officials say he obstructed a tug's efforts to secure a line and then refused to start up the ship's engines, which were subsequently blamed for widening a crack in the hull.

Universe Maritime blame the tug for the 14-hour delay in securing the line, during which time the ship drifted 20 miles to within 5 miles of the coast.

Britain strongly denies any link between the accident and negligence on the part of Gibraltar, and says the ship was not heading for the colony, a statement backed by the ship's managers and by Crown Resources, the Russian company that chartered the Prestige. They say it was heading from Latvia to Singapore, and was told to wait off Gibraltar for further orders.

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Wayne Jeffers
11-19-2002, 02:12 PM

Of course there is something "inherent in capitalism that especially promotes environmental pollution." It is the profit motive. The difference between receipts and expense. To the extent that for-profit business can dump the stuff in the river, or on the ground, or in the air and leave it for others to clean up or suffer the consequences, they will do it virtually every time. It reduces their business expense and increases their profit.

Republicans have ranted for years against perceived excess in government regulation and government spending. Republicans are firmly in the pocket of big business. As we enter upon an era of vigorous non-enforcement of environmental regulations, and drastic cutbacks on cleanup of old toxic waste sites, it seems to me remarkable to deny any connection between these results and the party in power.

Many industrialized societies are doing much more than the U.S. to practice good environmental stewardship. The fact that we were not alone in making a mess in the past, or that we were arguably not the worst, should not buy us a reprieve at this time.


[ 11-19-2002, 02:13 PM: Message edited by: Wayne Jeffers ]

11-19-2002, 02:23 PM
Well done the New York Times - a remarkably accurate and fair report. Puts a lot of European reportage in the shade.

In answer to Alan's question, a ship in distress does not have a right to enter a port! Any ship has the right of "innocent passage" through territorial waters, under the UNCLOS convention, but not the right to enter a port.

Silly, isn't it?

Don Olney
11-19-2002, 02:53 PM
Alan, if you had said "been associated with all unregulated industrial societies", I would probably agree with you. From a historical perspective, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the net environmental effect of unregulated markets and unregulated centrally planned industries.

While environmental regulations have provided us with cleaner air and water, much of that pollution has been exported to countries like China & India as heavy industry has moved abroad following cheaper labor and lax or non-existent environmental standards (the profit motive).

Alan D. Hyde
11-19-2002, 03:57 PM
Don, what you somewhat unfairly call "the profit motive" is more properly attributable to a universal human trait, self-interest.

Self-interest will always be there, irrespective of the form that society takes. In highly-regulated or totalitarian societies, some types of self-interest may be satisfied through informal channels: black markets and the influence of the nomenklatura. In free market economies, matters will be more out in the open.

In any case, self interest in human affairs is akin to the law of gravity in physics: if we wish to fly, we must take it into account.

Now, I will readily admit that we are by no means at this point a fully free market economy, and our political system is one that too often seems for sale to the highest bidder. This is a consequence not of too much freedom, but of too little. The more power that governments have, the greater is the motivation to influence or to corrupt their exercise of that power. The more power that individuals have, the more checks are placed on such influence and corruption.

Non-lawyers may be unaware that the original U.S. common law with respect to the pollution of watercourses was environmentally very strict.
Commonly referred to as the "natural flow" doctrine, it required that riparian proprietors permit waters flowing by their holdings to leave their lands undiminished in quality or quantity except for "reasonable use."

Breaches of this duty by riparian proprietors were actionable under the tort of nuisance, and substantial judgements were sometimes recovered against polluters.

Pressure on Judges in the middle and later nineteenth centuries resulted in the natural flow doctrine being judicially modified into what some have called the "economic impact" or "weighing of the equities" doctrine, of which the Boomer case was a well-known example. The result was that many polluters were essentially given a pass in the name of a greater public interest.

Had there been substantial public opposition to this course of action, the Judges in question might likely have ruled otherwise, and preserved the old natural flow rule. But, at the time, jobs seemed more important to most people than did pristine waterways. In retrospect, this appears to have been a poor choice.

But the old system might have worked, had the people involved worked it. They didn't though, and so it didn't. I'm not at all sure that the centralized bureaucratic approach which has succeeded the old system is better; indeed it may be worse. You personally may be more likely to actively protect and defend the purity of the watercourse or lake or bay at your back door, than will be a functionary far off in the fleshpots of the Beltway.

Just my opinion, Don, Wayne, et al. I could be wrong...


11-19-2002, 05:19 PM
Seems to me the ultimate self-interest is in having clean air to breathe, pure water to drink, safe food (fish?) to eat...

I call it greed, the root of all evil.

But I could be wrong.

[ 11-19-2002, 05:20 PM: Message edited by: Kermit ]

Keith Wilson
11-19-2002, 05:45 PM
I agree with Alan that there is no necessary connection between capitalist economies and environmental pollution, except that capitalism does tend to produce greater wealth and hence greater production and use of resources. I would argue that the actual correlation is distribution of power within in a society. Industrial societies with power concentrated in a small part of the populace generally pollute spectacularly (the Soviet Union, Brazil until fairly recently, China). There is often a large advantage, monetary or otherwise, in making a mess, and someone who’s powerful and not accountable can live upstream. In societies in which power is more evenly distributed, OTOH, most folks want clean water and clean air, are willing to put up with reasonable restrictions on freedom (laws) to get it, and have the power to restrain those who would profit from environmental damage. It’s actually a pretty good correlation, although there’s often quite a lag time before people figure out that there’s a problem.

However, I have yet to hear a coherent libertarian method of controlling environmental damage. Any method that seems to have the least chance of working involves some restriction of freedom. It’s the problem of the commons – one person’s short-term advantage leads eventually to serious trouble for all. I really don’t see any way other than laws/regulations (less freedom) to restrain those who pursue their own short-term interests to the common detriment. One can, of course, argue endlessly about how much and what type of regulation is needed, but “more freedom” in this case seems to lead to disaster. “Less government = more individual freedom” has been politically very useful for conservatives recently, but when much power is in the hands of corporations, the equation is not that simple, particularly when a large proportion of environmental damage is a result of corporate decisions.

[ 11-19-2002, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

11-19-2002, 06:31 PM
The origin of the natural flow doctrine, in English law, is severely practical and capitalist. It all has to do with the dreaded profit motive, in this case....

"There was a jolly miller once,
"Lived on the banks of Dee,
"And this the burden of his song
"For ever used to be:

"I care for nobody no, not I!
For nobody cares for me!"

Yes, the most hated man in pre-industrial society, the water miller; the original bloated capitalist GRINDING (please note!) the faces of the poor, interfering with navigation, interfering with mills lower down the water course, cheating his customers, and so on.

11-19-2002, 07:03 PM
I must, once again, "declare an interest" - I am an old friend of John Mervyn-Jones who is the Director of the Bahamas Maritime Authority and of Stephen Clinch who is their Principal Surveyor.

I might add that Bahamas is the most admired of the "flags of convenience".

Now, the hallmark of a reputable flag is the quality of its investigations. Thus far, and these are very early days, Bahamas, working closely with ABS, is suggesting that the counter-flooding to correct the initial list may have taken the structure well beyond its permissible stress limits, and that the tow out into the Atlantic in heavy weather may have taken the bending moment up to 200% of the permissible limit. The ship last drydocked, under ABS survey, in China, in 2001.

Wayne Jeffers
11-19-2002, 07:07 PM

An interesting post . . .

It seems to me that natural flow doctrine, with enforcement limited to civil action, is one thing in a pastoral setting, quite another in an industrial setting.

If my neighbor is a farmer who allows his herd to foul the stream beyond the limits of reasonable use, a civil action is perhaps a reasonable way to resolve any dispute and restore neighborly behavior.

If, however, my neighbor is DuPont Chemicals and they are fouling not only the river but also the groundwater and the air, what recourse do I have? Their pollution is not agricultural runoff, but noxious chemicals, some of which may take years to work their evil. And what if I and my family get cancer after a few years? How do I show in court the nexus between our disease and the chemicals my corporate neighbor has exposed us to through his negligence? The corporation has deep pockets and many lawyers to drag things out beyond my resources.

History has shown that in such circumstances the individual virtually never prevails in suits against corporations without generous outside assistance. Often the result is a settlement (cheap for the corporation) which includes a confidentiality agreement. The result is that the corporation can continue its poisonous ways undetected for many more decades. (This happened with asbestos back in the 1930's.)

Of course, the heart of the difference is in the resources available to each of the parties. Individuals are powerless in opposition to the corporations. Even state government has generally proven to be ineffective. Many corporations have greater resources than most states.

I am strongly persuaded that only the federal government can reign in corporate pollution excesses.

And what of freedom in this calculus? Is my right to live in a non-poisonous environment trumped by the corporations' right to be unfettered by regulations to restrain their excess? No, I consider the corporations a much greater threat to my freedom (and to the health and welfare of my family) than any government regulations to limit corporate excess.


Don Olney
11-19-2002, 08:28 PM
Alan, to answer the first part of your last post, you mention "highly- regulated or totalitarian societies" -- but with regard to environmental regulation, these two are not interchangeable.

Environmental regulation in a totalitarian society like the Soviet Union for example, was for the most part, non-existent. To the extent that such regulations existed, they were ignored and no court would hear any complaint if any had been made. In the late Brezhnev/Andropov era, there was a small environmental movement but many protesters were jailed and in some cases put in mental institutions or otherwise harassed. The fact that industries were centrally planned in the USSR and were operated by the state without individual freedoms or right of private ownership does not mean that they were "heavily regulated". In fact, industry operated free of regulation and free of public input.

That is why I said that from a historical perspective, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the net environmental effects of unregulated free markets and unregulated centrally planned industries.

I don't believe that there is a molehill’s difference in the environmental damage done in say, parts of Romania in the 1960's, 70's & 80’s with that done in mill or mining towns in 19th century England. Both are the result of no regulation. “Devil take the hindmost”.

11-19-2002, 11:42 PM
Originally posted by ACB:
Jim D - do you mean the oil industry per se or the tanker industry?ABC I meant any industry at all, ie the airline industry for a good example. What if commercial air planes were inspected and ok'ed for service the way tanker ships are? I don't think so. Tankers are out of sight and out of mind for most of us, 747s aren't.


As for market economies vs command economies I'll take the market economies. There is a market for environmental protection, even if it is weaker than some of us may like, but growing. But in a command economy environmentalism can be ordered out of existence by the dictators. That much has been demonstrated well enough in the last century

11-20-2002, 04:27 AM
The self regulation of merchant shipping is under attack at the present time. Through the device of the flag of convenience, ships have largely escaped effective third party (i.e. Government) scrutiny.

A tanker is subject to the following inspection regimes:

Classification Society (in this case ABS)
Flag State (in this case Bahamas, delegated, as is now usual, to the classification society, ABS)
Port State Control (random superficial inspections at ports)
SIRE (the oil companies own inspection programme, carried out by oil company inspectors so that the ship is on an "approved" list for chartering
P&I Club (the liability insurers)

The trouble is that the owner can change his class society, his flag state and his P&I Club and the other two do superficial inspections only.

Whether thus type of regimen will be one that can continue remains to be seen, but there seems to be a lack of willingness to do much, at Government level, because of the cheap transport that we all get.

martin schulz
11-20-2002, 07:37 AM
Originally posted by stan v:
I don't care if you call me a conservative freak.Hmm, lets see:
con-ser-va-tive /adj 1 opposed to (great or sudden) change :
Old people are usually more – than young people. 2 cautious; moderate: a – estimate of one's future income
(Oxford's Dictionary)

So, in that case I am the most conservative
freak here - I want the environment to be as it is, or better as it was before mankind started messing with it full scale. And I am opposed to sudden changes - like broken-tanker suddenly destroying a big piece of nature.

The "Old people"-stuff in the Dictionary explanation is the only thing I wouldn't adopt - this one is for you Stan :D

11-20-2002, 08:23 AM
Stan, if we count "convention" ships - ships subject to the international safety conventions, i.e. over 500 tons gross and undertaking international voyages, the answer is that there are about 27,000 of them.

If we look at the total figures, they are much higher, and are very interesting. These figures are from a friend at Lloyd's Register of Ships:

At the end of 1980, there were 73,500 merchant ships afloat in the world, their average age was
12.5 years and six ships in 1,000 became an actual or constructive total loss that year.

In 1990 these figures were 78,000 ships of 15.5 years average age, and 3 out of 1,000 ships became total losses.

By the end of 2000 these numbers were: 88,000 ships, their average age was 19.5 years, and 2 ships in every 1,000 became constructive or actual total losses.

The mileage is in the billions.

So we see an industry with ships getting older and a improving safety record.

The major source of oil pollution of the oceans, and I kid you not, is car owners tipping used luboil down the drain - this accounts for 27% of the total. Tanker operations (not accidents) account for 11% and tanker accidents account for another 8%, if the figures are averages out over 10 years. Another 8% is natural seepage.

11-20-2002, 09:18 AM
Stan, the occurrance of some oil pollution of the worlds oceans through acts of man should be as acceptable as the occurrance of some innocent deaths due to terrorism. It sadly happens, but we should be actively working to minimize it to statistically infinitesimal rates.

[ 11-20-2002, 09:19 AM: Message edited by: mmd ]

11-20-2002, 11:00 AM
I'll grant that the immediate personal impact to the individual bear little comparison, but both are the result of human activity and therefore are within the realm of being ameliorated if not controlled by the people involved. Structural failures of ships occur from inadequate knowledge, engineering, or maintenance; terrorism occurs from failure of two groups of people to accomodate or tolerate the needs and desires of the other. Neither situation arises without human involvement, therefore humans can work to reduce the possibility of their occurance.

A year from now the results of this tanker accident may well be mostly out of sight, but most likely still capable of causing damage. We here in Nova Scotia know all too well about the long-term effects of submerged oil in sunken tankers. In the late sixties an oil barge called the "Irving Whale" sunk off the pristine coast of Cape Breton and was thought to be benign due to the depth and cold temperature of the water in which it was entombed. For more than a quarter of a century local fishermen in the region annually brought evidence of pollution of the shoreline and their fishing gear before a salvage operation was undertaken. The "Whale" was raised and the oil still in her hold was pumped out. There have been no subsequent reports of oil pollution on that coast to date. From this we can conclude that sunken oil does continue to pose a threat to the marine environment for many decades after the accident.

John Gearing
11-20-2002, 12:18 PM
Some seem to be saying "more personal freedom = less pollution" but my experience contradicts this. I have only known a handful of gas station owners and small engine repair shop owners, but every one of them dumped their used oil and other assorted waste products either on the ground behind their building or into the stream that ran through their property. Seems to me that as long as there is a "commons" then everyone has some interest in using it to externalize some of their costs, thereby increasing their profits.

"If men were angels we would not need governments." --Burke

The point is that humans are not angels. And if we accept the idea that individual humans are motivated by self-interest, then it makes no difference at all whether one is talking about a corporation or an individual when it comes to pollution-- the temptation to externalize costs will be there regardless. And it makes no difference whether we are talking about capitalism or communism. The pressure to externalize will still be present.

As I see it, one of the main problems with a strictly market-oriented worldview is that it leads to the acceptance of market values as the ONLY values that mankind should have. Or at the very least, market values become the standard against which all other values must be judged for acceptance. Those values that fail the test must then be discarded and replaced by the appropriate market-oriented philosophy. Seems to me that many people across the board are at least dimly aware of this, as one sees politicians and pundits of all stripes popping up from time to time to decry the loss of values flowing from other value systems. Sometimes these are expressed as "family values" or "traditonal values", but to me they are all unconscious understanding of the effects that transpire when market values become the supremely dominant values of a society or culture.

And so, in my opinion, the study and perhaps adoption of other value systems as at least co-equal partners to market values leads one down some interesting paths in life. That they make you a bit of an odd duck (at least in present-day America) is perhaps a price worth paying.

Alan D. Hyde
11-20-2002, 01:52 PM
By "free men and free markets" I certainly don't intend to endorse anarchy. Governments are obviously a necessity; most of our differences of opinion here concern only the rightful scope of their powers, and the efficacy of their various attempts to ameliorate various human problems.


Dave Fleming
11-20-2002, 02:47 PM

November 20, 2002
Oil Spill Prompts Call for Crackdown

Filed at 2:23 p.m. ET

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- They're derided as ``environmental timebombs'' and ``floating garbage dumps.'' Yet more than half the world's 10,000 oil tankers are the old-style, single-hulled variety despite outcries after every disastrous spill, from the 1989 Exxon Valdez in pristine Alaska to this week's sinking of the Prestige off the verdant coast of Spain.

A U.N. treaty banning single-hulled tankers entered into force this year -- but the phase-in period stretches to 2015.

Until then, European Union officials say their efforts to impose stricter inspections are being subverted by shipowners who steer clear of EU harbors or avoid dropping anchor when they refuel or pick up supplies. Yet oil they spill can wash ashore anyway -- as the cleanup crews scooping sludge from Spanish beaches Wednesday can attest.

``These vessels now avoid European ports because they know it's risky for them,'' said Giles Gantelet, spokesman for EU Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio.

Authorities in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which has the world's busiest port, say they have the same impression.

``It's quite obvious that older vessels, those with very bad maintenance, do not enter the port of Rotterdam because the risks are too big for them,'' said Minco van Heezen of the Rotterdam Port Authority.

Those that don't pass muster can be fined or even ``chained up for a long time,'' he said.

The number of dockings -- and repair work -- done by Dutch shipbuilders has declined over the past few years, said Ruud Schouten of the Netherlands Shipbuilding Industry Association.

``It's the same in other west European countries,'' he said. ``Regulations are tougher here than some other parts of the world, (so) if you have a vessel which is not up to the standards, then it's better to go elsewhere.''

As business declines in western Europe, work is migrating to low-wage countries in eastern Europe, Asia or on the Arabian peninsula, he said.

The Prestige was loaded in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Latvia and was en route to Singapore when it ruptured in stormy weather last week. It split in two and sank Tuesday, about 150 miles from Spain.

An estimated 1.6 million gallons of fuel and oil have been spilled into the Atlantic Ocean, threatening rich fishing grounds.

According to the American Bureau of Shipping, which validates a ship's seaworthiness, the tanker's last annual inspection was done in May in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Its last detailed inspection -- done in dry dock in China -- was in May 2001, said Stewart Wade, vice president of the Houston-based agency.

``At the time of this incident, the Prestige was fully in compliance with all of our requirements,'' he said.

The International Maritime Organization, a U.N. agency whose motto is ``safer shipping, cleaner oceans,'' has no information about ``ships avoiding particular ports,'' said spokesman Lee Adamson in London.

``That's not to say it's not happening,'' he added.

But he said inspections are carried out under the auspices of the country whose flag the ship is flying. ``The owner wouldn't just choose,'' he said. ``The flag state authority would have to give its approval.''

The Prestige was owned by a Liberian company but registered in the Bahamas, a so-called ``flag of convenience'' known as a tax haven. Adamson said his agency has no data on the safety records of ships registered there.

Since inspections are carried out by ABS surveyors, ``the standards should be the same worldwide, said Edmond Brookes, deputy director-general of the British-based Chamber of Shipping. But as to whether they are in practice, he said, ``you'd have to ask the flag states.''

The ship's operator, Universe Maritime, denied the vessel had been avoiding EU ports. A spokesman at the company's offices in Athens, Greece, said the Prestige had been sailing mainly between the Persian Gulf and the Far East for the past three years.

``It's not a case that an owner is trying to avoid anything, but if it's picking up fuel, oil in Russia in this case, then it's not going to call at a port in Europe on the way through,'' the spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

The ship did stop in the British outpost of Gibraltar for refueling last June, but authorities there say it did not enter the port. It put in a few days earlier at the Greek port of Kalamata, but Greek officials said because it was ``in transit,'' it was not subject to inspections.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, attacked such distinctions as a disingenuous way to ``get around safety measures by playing with words or the number of meters between the vessel and the port.''

French President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday he would raise the issue of maritime security at next month's EU summit. Chirac criticized European officials for not taking a tougher stand against such ``garbage ships.''

France, however, along with Ireland, is being sued by the EU Commission for not carrying out enough port inspections.

De Palacio herself, visibly angry at a news conference Wednesday in Strasbourg, France, demanded EU governments, who are responsible for their ports, deal with what she termed ``environmental timebombs.''

New rules requiring more inspections, especially of older, single-hulled tankers, don't take effect until next year, but she urged countries to start now.

``We've wasted valuable time,'' she said. ``Pollution knows no borders.''

Copyright The Associated Press | Privacy Policy

martin schulz
11-21-2002, 04:16 AM
Ok - we have the discussion whether it is, or is not a big thing that nature can deal with.
Then we are discussing whether a strictly capitalist, or other form of society can do best in keeping the enviroment safe.

But this is not the major point I was at. Maybe I am just too naive, or can't express myself correctly. I just wonder...
Those guys in charge (and when you go down the line you will find single persons who made decissions) they enjoy nature and a clean breath in the forest as much as us. They probably even have a nice home in a nice countryside with pool. He wouldn't like it either if somebody would dump his trash in his nice garden.
I just wonder how anybody can make decisions that will lead to a damage, or will be a great risk for the environment. I guess it starts at a very low level. When you feel fine with throwing a cig out of the car window, then you feel ok emptying an ashtray in the parking lot, then dumping some oil in your backyard... eventually you'll end up taking the risk of poluting an ecosystem just because of profit-making (to buy yourself a nice home at some nice non-poluted place).

Wild Wassa
11-21-2002, 04:50 AM
Double the size of the Exxon Valdez is not considered to be only more than a year's nuisance?

Don't become blaze (with a thing above the e) polution does not back off.

The Great Barier Reef (W H area) is only just one wreck away, from costing the country a priceless loss.


ps, a friend of mine who sailed across the sea, said he found these big turd-like lumps in the ocean. He said it was solidified oil.

[ 11-21-2002, 03:42 PM: Message edited by: Wild Wassa ]

11-21-2002, 05:32 AM
A lot depends on the grade of the oil and where it was spilled. The Braer, for example, (American owned, flag of convenience) was a total loss in the Shetlands and spilled more oil than the Pretige, but she was carrying Brent crude, loaded in Norway, which is quite light, and the weather in the Shetlands is atrocious - it was all gone in a year.

The Exxon Valdez spilled a heavier grade into colder, calmer, waters and it lingered for far longer.

The Prestige was carrying heavy fuel oil - this is not the 22 second oil you burn in your central heating boiler but thick black tarry sludge which must be heated to be pumped. Nasty, but some say that light fractions such as gasoline do more damage because they are more poisonous.

Nature does have a way of coping with oil; of course, given enough time, but, as Tony says, the impact of a big spill in one area overwhelms those defences.

Now, I would like to talk about Martin's point.

I can speak about this, because in the years 1984-91 I was personally responsible (as an employee) for operating three tankers, a 1981-built 37,000 ton product tanker, a 1975-built steam VLCC and a 1976-built re-engined (from steam) motor VLCC.

Which means I carry some measure of personal responsibility for the following:

The 37,000 tonner was hit by an Iranian missile in the Arabian Gulf in 1984. She caught fire and two men died. The Norwegian chief officer and chief engineer stayed on board and extinguished the fire, for which they were awarded Lloyd's Medal - an exceptional award for outstanding gallantry. Cannot remember if any cargo was spilled.

The steam VLCC, a one and a half boiler job built in NDSW, Amsterdam (there's a photo of her in two halves in the marina office opposite the railway station) led a charmed life.

She ran up the Gulf through the Iran Iraq war, which, for shipping, was the real "Gulf War" and was never hit. Mindy you, we routed her through some pretty shallow water, off the Emirates, gunboat dodging, and she never grounded either.

She went through ten days of continuous F10-11 in the Taiwan strait which stripped most of the paint off the weather deck (that was the NW monsoon, more feared than typhoons by seamen in those parts - you can, and should, go round typhoons, but the monsoon is going to get you...).

She was loading in the Neutral Zone (Kuwait-Saudi border area) when the Kuwait war started.

She launched a lifeboat in F9 and picked up the entire crew of a logger which sank in the South China Sea.

She did the same thing again in the Indian ocean a year later.

She never spilled any oil. We all loved that old girl - bought at the age of 7 for five million bucks - her scrap price - out of class and neglected.

The motor VLCC took a boarding sea over the poop, off South Africa, which washed the decks clear - including the boarding ladder - lucky no-one was killed. She did spill some oil - going up the Gulf to load at Ras Tanura the Master came on the bridge one morning for stars and smelled oil - she was leaving a slick. In daylight it could be seen - a ballast discharge pipe ran through a bunker tank (poor design, but common) and had rusted through, so as she discharged ballast preparatory to loading the bunker oil went OB. We "got away with it" - she lowered a lifeboat and the oil was swabbed off the side and nobody said a word about it.

Now, do I feel irresponsible or guilty about those ships? I don't think so. They were mostly on charter to Big Oil, (Shell and Chevron) who are hard taskmasters but quite environmentally conscientious. The only spill we had was not really our fault. They had a family atmosphere on board; the little one had Norwegians and Filipinos and the two big ones had British and Filipinos. My employers did not make a lot of money out of them. Of course, we might have had a bad accident, and I was aware that the two big old ladies were, shall we say a little rusty in places, like the deck beams, which are hard to get at.

They were sold because the owners of the company just came to feel that they could not sleep well at nights, owning tankers. They were wealthy but responsible people, with many other interests, and they shuddered at the thought that they might be held up as villains in the papers and the TV.

So the ships were sold. Being good employers they offered the crews other jobs, and as of today the steam VLCC is rebars holding buildings somewhere in India and the other two....are still trading.

[ 11-21-2002, 05:36 AM: Message edited by: ACB ]

11-21-2002, 08:26 AM
All of the winds that ever blew
into all of the sails that were ever made,
from the beginning of civilization to the present day, left no mark upon the earth,
no slick of oil, no smells, no noise,
no trace of any kind,
they blew, they filled a sail,
they pushed a boat,

But -- after they had done their work,
the Earth remained the same!

Scott Rosen
11-21-2002, 08:38 AM
Originally posted by register101:
All of the winds that ever blew
into all of the sails that were ever made [snip] after they had done their work,
the Earth remained the same!I guess you never saw a hurricane or a tornado. Or maybe you forgot about all of the sailors whose lives were lost on lee shores in gales before the age of engines in boats.

Let's not get blinded by romance. Oil has its problems, for sure, but it's not entirely evil.

11-21-2002, 09:19 AM
Of course, I do really agree with Martin. Honestly, I do. But it is not at all easy to stop these things.

A very important point here - European nations, collectively, are responsible for this mess, and I don't just mean that she was owned in Greece. I mean that European port dues are so high that these fuel oil cargoes, which, in the Pacific, are carried as part loads on good modern ships, are left for old bangers, because the big modern ship is paying her port dues on her register tonnage, not on the amount of cargo. Asian nations charge much lower port dues - they want ships to come and trade. Europe, it seems, does not.

(NB - don't start me on the Jones Act.....)

11-21-2002, 10:06 AM
Well Stan, that's twice we've agreed with each other. Better be careful - people will start to talk!

Yes, you're right - port dues are seen as a sort of free way to get money by European governments.

Alan D. Hyde
11-21-2002, 10:58 AM
There's an interesting book, that many of us here have read, entitled Looking for a Ship, by John McPhee. It talks about (among other things)how foolish regulations have crippled the U.S. shipping industry and U.S. ports.

Of course, some of this regulation was initiated by the outcry following Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana, another book with which many of us here are acquainted. The problems Dana identified were real, and needed to be dealt with. The legislation that has followed over the years was, at least at first, well-intended, but caused unanticipated and negative consequences.

In the light of all this Andrew, I, for one, would be most interested in your experience with and thoughts on the Jones Act.


11-21-2002, 12:21 PM
I have'nt read McFee's book, though I have read reviews. I am of course writing as an outsider, albeit one with an old and close friend who has made a living for twenty years now as a manager of Jones Act tonnage, and who is much respected in the industry.

In a nutshell, when you go from regular shipping to Jones Act shipping you pass through Alice's mirror. It looks the same, but everything is reversed. Things that used to matter don't matter, and vice versa.

The Jones Act is roughly contemporaneous with the great British Merchant Act of 1894, brought about by the agitation of Samuel Plimsoll. The essential difference is the reservation of cabotage in the Jones Act, and the requirements that US flag ships must be built in the USA, whilst foreign repairs are to be taxed.

Broadly speaking, I share the view that the US merchant marine was "killed by kindness"; it became addicted to subsidy. The situation was made worse, I fancy, by the unholy alliance of trades unions and corporations with a vested interest in the continuance of the status quo.

It is interesting to note, in passing, that the development of the flag of convenience was fuelled by the wish of US shipowners to evade restrictions placed on them. The use of Panama flag on cruise ships, for instance, was a result of Prohibition.

As the late, distinguished, American authority, Captain Cahill, pointed out, the tax on foreign repairs simply meant that US ships tottered round the globe in an unseaworthy state until they got home, whilst the requirement for ships to be built in the USA made the US flag fleet by far the oldest, and the most technologically backward, on the planet. I include the former USSR and China in that comparison, incidentally.

Union control of the hiring halls gave rise to some very curious abuses, effectively depriving shipowners of any interest in the men who manned their ships.

Even odder was the development of ITBs in the US coastal trade, not for any technical reason, but simply to evade the manning requirements.

Having said all that, the inescapable fact is that the USA has not collapsed under the burden of this bizarre system, seamen who manage to meet its rather odd requirements make a good living, and in recent times there has been a substantial improvement in the fleet.

I could witter on for far longer, but I will probably have offended other contributors already.

Dave Fleming
11-21-2002, 12:51 PM
Not arguing with ACB here but it is interesting that the US Govt. shut down most Naval Shipyards and now the cry is to keep our ***commercial***yards operating in the "National Interest"!
The one new build yard here in 'insane Diego'keeps chugging along on naval auxiliary vessels and some tankers for the Prince William Sound to San Francico and other points in California run. It is overcrowded and probably inefficient compared to yards in the EU.
And I bet the Port Authority would love to see it leave so that they could get their hands on some more waterfront property to develop into another huge parking lot for more fleets of 'tupperware'gin palaces that never seem to leave their slips. With the tax laws allowing boats to be called second homes as long as they meet the minimum requirments ie: stove and toilet( even though the head cannot be used in port or must have a holding tank installed). They are probably used bye folks from other areas just for that purpose. I see some strange home ports on the transoms of many. Reno, Nevada, Phoenix, Arizona to name just two odd ports.
I see it now, the holding tank is full and its the big cruise of the season...over to the pumpout station and 'Once around the bay, Jeeves'!

Ian McColgin
11-21-2002, 03:05 PM
Back to the spill: I don't usually get exercised at Stan's predicable diatribes, but I can't imagine living as myopicly as Stan appears to live:

The Valdez port operation was out of compliance with its own written and supposedly legally binding operating proceedures from just about day one and the Exxon accident was the direct result. The marine damage has been well established, measured and documented. Some of it is permanent.

I can think off-hand of about 20 sites in my state alone where petrochemical pollution is permanent - at least in human terms. Perhaps not compared to geological time. On my home of Cape Cod simply the spillage of aviation fuels at Otis has created a large, moving and well documented plume. There are smaller plumes from Barnstable Airport and several unused gas stations.

Or if that bores you, paddle along the Mystic in Everett and see the crud leaching into the river from about 100 years of bad corporate behavior that adds to the mess daily.

I'll close this off with a little article from today's Cape Cod Times on what's really a small spill:

Cape study shows long-term ooze of oil

The 199-foot barge Florida was carrying 625,000 gallons of home heating oil when it went aground off West Falmouth on Sept. 16, 1969. An estimated 175,000 gallons of oil gushed out of a big hole in its stern and blanketed the shoreline, killing shellfish, lobsters and crabs and blanketing the nearby marsh.

Over the years, it appeared that wave action, sunlight and bacteria had taken care of the oil on the surface. But researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy released a study last Friday that showed that the oil had actually sunk down through a more porous upper layer and become trapped in a dense layer underneath.

"Petroleum residues from the spill continue to occur in Wild Harbor sediments after 30 years and will likely remain there indefinitely," said Chris Reddy, an assistant scientist in the Institution's Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry department and the lead author of the study which will be published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The West Falmouth oil spill site is the longest continuously studied oil spill site in the world, with over 30 years of scientific work.

All this has heightened relevance as the environmental clean-up of enormous proportions begins in Spain after the sinking of the oil tanker Prestige on Tuesday. The Prestige may have leaked nearly 1 million gallons before it sank. Some of that oil has already coated hundreds of miles of coastline in the northwest corner of Spain. - By Doug Fraser

I can understand Stan's confusion that anyone who disagrees with him must be a socialist, but I can't get my mind around anyone with a genuine appreciation for boats who'd not have the same appreciation for water, and boating people who can't see the global damage in our waters, fresh and salt, are completely outside my ability to even imagine.

There's the evidence of my internet eyes that Stan exists and believes what he writes. There's evidence that he's intelligent enough to have basic language skills. But I still can't believe that a rational person who loves boats could write such arrant nonsense about pollution.

I guess that's my failure.

True Love
11-21-2002, 03:32 PM
Profit orientation is not equivocal to moral insufficiency.

11-21-2002, 03:36 PM
Texans, turkeys, Thanksgiving... darn, there's got to be a good joke in there somewhere. Good thing we're not canibals ;)

Ian McColgin
11-21-2002, 03:52 PM
You're certainly right that man had nothing to do with causing Mt. St Helens to blow. I was in fact nearby, living on the Oregon Coast at the time and climbed up Saddle Back for a good look. I loved that mountain dearly, climbed it a couple of dozen times for the fun of skiing it, knew both the old man who perished in his cabin at the foot of the mountain and the photog who knew the blast would kill him so he stood his ground and snapped those last astonishing pix. I sailed the Columbia when it was silted and I dealt with placement of dredge spoil. I also know a little about things like hurricanes, having lived through a few, including the loss of Goblin a decade back.

I got it with Mother Nature up close and personal and she's not always nice.

That does not excuse our fouling our own nest.

I don't think that sanitation standards for human waste removal are a bad idea and they are certainly not a communist plot. Nor are environmental standards a bad idea. We can argue the details, like how much nitrate per acre becomes non-point pollution, but the fact is that without laws we'd have worse pollution and pestilential cities.

I think that this division between us is quite deep and may be as unbridgable as the division between the anti-choice v. pro choice as some would phrase it. Others might say pro life v pro abortion.

Point is, there's great diversity on the pro-choise side about how available, how late and all that. But once you believe that it's human with the civil rights of the born from conception, there's really no room for compromise. For many pro-lifers, it's an honest position deeply held.

But while my understanding embraces people who are pro-life, my understanding does not embrace people who are pro-pollution.

11-21-2002, 05:09 PM
One real problem is that the law still treats the high seas as "common" or "waste". We are still slow to realise that our planet is finite, in all respects.

11-21-2002, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by stan v:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Ian McColgin:
But while my understanding embraces people who are pro-life, my understanding does not embrace people who are pro-pollution.I don't know anyone that is pro-pollution. Do you?</font>[/QUOTE]Yup. SUV drivers.

gunnar I am
11-21-2002, 07:37 PM
Now this puddle, Stan, is liberal, so try not to step in it.I think we'd have to start a whole new thread for people we know pollute,and it might piss some people off.Like how much does a twin engined sport fisherman pollute? And why on earth,of all the stupid things the government does. dis they do emissions on cars first? It added to the price of cars. Marine and recreational vehicles are a luxury and we shoulda started there.They're heavy polluters,all them 2 strokers and diesels.There's a helluva lot more people that can't afford a car.I'd also favor ,fuel prices closer to Europes,PROVIDED THE MONEY DIDN"T DISSAPPEAR INTO THE GENERAL FUND!!It could be used for public transit and then Stan could ride on a bus full of socialists :D :D

gunnar I am
11-21-2002, 07:50 PM
Originally posted by stan v:
2004 elections are looking better and better.An here's another thing they could do with that there gene manipplatin.They could finds what genes ya got ,what causes tinnitus,and manipplate it so it causes Woodie Guthrie songs to be played in Stan's ears.

Mark Van
11-21-2002, 10:11 PM
We should switch to good clean Nuclear power.

11-21-2002, 11:08 PM
ABC, my impression so far is that processes of inspections /flagging, whatever, in regards to older ships or new ones poorly built reminds me of a punchy boxer who can't get a license to fight in one jurisdiction so he just applies in another jurisdiction with laxer rules.

Has it been stated, or do you know, who owned the oil cargo of the Prestige, and if the owner paid a fair market price to have it shipped? What I'm getting at is did the owner of the cargo get a deal on the price of shipping, suggesting the ship was known to be structurally weakened?

Its true that even in a relatively well regulated industry such as air travel, passenger planes occassionally have engines, wings, wheels,etc. that just drop off. We all wonder how on earth it could happen with all the safety rules in place, but nevertheless it still happens. Do you think that is what is happening with these ships?

11-22-2002, 02:48 AM
Originally posted by Mark Van:
We should switch to good clean Nuclear power.Hopefully, we'll have it someday.

martin schulz
11-22-2002, 03:59 AM
Just read a statement by an danish pilot who said that the ship was not safe at all. The radar wasn't working (the crew even put a jacket over the screen, because they found the glow intimidating). He said also, that the crew, captain included, couldn't speak any english, wouldn't speak it or where highly senil.

11-22-2002, 05:36 AM
Originally posted by JimD:
ABC, my impression so far is that processes of inspections /flagging, whatever, in regards to older ships or new ones poorly built reminds me of a punchy boxer who can't get a license to fight in one jurisdiction so he just applies in another jurisdiction with laxer rules.

Has it been stated, or do you know, who owned the oil cargo of the Prestige, and if the owner paid a fair market price to have it shipped? What I'm getting at is did the owner of the cargo get a deal on the price of shipping, suggesting the ship was known to be structurally weakened?

Its true that even in a relatively well regulated industry such as air travel, passenger planes occassionally have engines, wings, wheels,etc. that just drop off. We all wonder how on earth it could happen with all the safety rules in place, but nevertheless it still happens. Do you think that is what is happening with these ships?
jimdJim, you raise a good point. Your fist paragraph is accurate, but this particular ship was with a "good" Register and Classification Society.

I would be very interested to be a "fly on the wall" in conversations between ABS, who did the actual inspections and surveys of the ship, and the Bahamas Register, right now, as to just how ABS let this one through!

The owners of the cargo, that is to say, the people who bought it, in Latvia, as it came aboard the ship, are a Swiss-Russian firm of oil traders, called Crown Resources (!) and they were intending to re-sell the cargo on the water - that is why the ship sailed for "Gibraltar for orders", meaning "steam towards the mouth of the Mediterranean, and before you get there we will have new instructions for you."

The "mechanics" of trading a bulk cargo, be it fuel oil, sugar, coal, grain or anything else suitable, outside the States, where the Pomerene Act imposes certain changes, are that the ship measures the quantity loaded and the Master (or rather, the Agent, on behalf of the Master) issues a Bill of Lading (B/L) for that quantity, stating "Shipped on board....deliver to the order of..." The B/L is a negotiable instrument - the Master or the Agent hands it to the shipper (the seller) who takes it to his Bank, which then allows him to draw down on the Letter of Credit established by the buyer, who is also, of course, the voyage charterer of the ship. The Bank forwards the B/L to the charterer who can se-sell the cargo by endorsing the B/L over, in exchange for payment.

It would seem that the cargo might have been sold on to traders based in Singapore, but that is not 100% clear to the public yet - it will be clear to the cargo underwriters, though, as they will have had the claim presented by the owners of the cargo!

Now, the ship will have been chartered through brokers on the open market in the usual way; lowest offer by an acceptable ship gets the job.

"Acceptable" means, in this context, reasonably close to the port of loading, right size, and trading certificates in order, including in the case of an oil tanker, "approvals" from the major oil companies through their own inspection programmes, evidence of oil pollution insurance, and all the statutory certificates (load line, etc). As a matter of fact, the choice may well have been quite limited, because there are not very many modern ships of this size and most of them are trading to the East Coast of the USA either from Venezuela or transhipping from big tankers off the Gulf Coast. Since "dirty" oil cargoes mean that the ship has to be cleaned before loading white oils, that also restricts the number of ships offering.

It is probably fair to add that, whilst I have no personal knowledge of Crown Resources, most oil traders will charter the cheapest acceptable ship going, and will often charter old ships and ships which the oil majors may prefer to avoid. To put it another way, "Big Oil" are more picky about the ships they take.

It is also only fair to "Big Oil" to add that, where a cargo has been owned by one of the majors, (not the case here) the oil company has usually been willing to make payments over and above their legal liability, out of their own pockets rather than from insurance, towards clean up and compensation. The traders lack both the resources to do this and the exposure to the general public that motivates such behaviour.

A general thought - when the ship was built, her designers probably thought that she would be scrapped at around the age of 15.

[ 11-22-2002, 06:17 AM: Message edited by: ACB ]

11-22-2002, 07:31 AM
Originally posted by martin schulz:
Just read a statement by an danish pilot who said that the ship was not safe at all. The radar wasn't working (the crew even put a jacket over the screen, because they found the glow intimidating). He said also, that the crew, captain included, couldn't speak any english, wouldn't speak it or where highly senil.Martin - the trouble is that Pilots are often critical of ships from other countries. If the pilot was interviewed by a reporter who was not familiar with the subject, he could have been misquoted.

Ships of this size must have two radars, on 3cm and 10cm bands. Sounds as if the hood of one display unit was missing - I have myself seen a coat draped over, in similar circumstances. Not because the glow was intimidating, but to preserve night vision. Indeed, back in the old days, this was standard practice.

Don Olney
11-22-2002, 09:24 AM
Below are several informative articles from yesterday's Financial Times.


Spotlight falls on a heavily globalised industry
By Daniel Dombey, Leslie Crawford and Toby Shelley
Nov 20, 2002

Spain's Atlantic shores were dressed in mourning on Wednesday. A black sludge of
highly toxic industrial fuel coated 300km of pristine coastline in one of the biggest
European disasters caused by an oil spill.

Military aircraft detected four new oil slicks where the Prestige, an ageing tanker, sank
on Tuesday carrying 70,000 tonnes of fuel - twice the load of the Exxon Valdez, which
caused America's worst oil spill when it sank off Alaska in 1989. Oil leaked by the
sinking ship on Tuesday was already less than two miles away from the Galician

On Wednesday, in the deep inlets that form one of Europe's richest fishing banks, the
mood was one of indignation and despair. The slick, which the Spanish govertment
estimates has caused €42m ($42.1m) worth of environmental damage, has
destroyed the livelihood of more than 4,000 fishermen and countless businesses
which depend on summer tourism for a living.

Galicia's coastal communities want to know who
will compensate them for the damage to their
economies and their environment. Some demand
immediate action to stop such a disaster from
happening again. When thousands of tons of oil
leak from a ship travelling under a flag of
convenience and plying its trade between Latvia
and Singapore, the catastrophe appears, at first
sight, to offer proof of national authorities' inability to
regulate a globalised industry.

In that sense, the Prestige, registered in the
Bahamas, owned by a Liberian company,
managed by a Greek company and chartered by a Swiss-based Russian
commodities trader, is a classic case.

World seaborne trade has increased from 3.9bn tonnes in 1990 to 5.4bn tonnes in
2001, according to the European Community Shipowners' Association - a rise of 37
per cent. It forecasts a further 4 per cent increase by the end of 2003. Yet the sea,
famously, has no borders; much of it lies outside national jurisdictions and under the
supervision of weak international authorities.

"We have a system of rules that corresponds to the 19th century but we are in the 21st
century, with an exponential increase in shipping, with cargo that can greatly pollute,"
says Loyola de Palacio, Europe's transport and energy commissioner. "These things
just didn't exist when these rules were set up - this kind of cargo didn't, nor did this
kind of volume."

Yet a more coherent system is being pieced together, by Ms de Palacio among
others, largely in response to past disasters. It will begin to come into force by next

"The new rules should make such accidents less likely but
you still have to work out how you react to them - particularly
with regard to liability," says Jörg Beckmann at the European
Federation for Transport and Environment, an environmental
grouping. He, like the Commission itself, and oil industry
executives, believes that legislation rushed through the
European Union after the Erika disaster of 1999, when more
than 15,000 tonnes of fuel oil polluted coast of Brittany, will
do much to reduce the risks. But it will take time to
implement a more structured global approach. And more remains to be done to
determine who bears the brunt of the clean-up costs.

Historically, the whole issue of making sure that ships are seashape has been
plagued by problems of enforcement. Responsibility is split between the countries
where the ship is registered - the flag state - and the docks at which it calls. In theory,
the flag state should be more important in enforcing law. In practice, since many
shipowners gravitate to jurisdictions where rules may be more lax, port-side
inspections have proved more effective in recent years.

As Jon Whitlow of the International Transport Federation says, though it is 50 years
since his organisation began campaigning against "flags of convenience", there is
still no real sanction on flag states that allow substandard vessels through
inspections. That is despite the declaration by the UN's International Maritime
Organisation in 1992, after a series of shipping disasters, that there was "an urgent
need to improve maritime safety through stricter and more uniform application of
existing regulations".

Mr Whitlow points out that some of the flag state registries are poorly staffed and
unable to oversee statutory inspections. There is also no international audit of the
"recognised organisations" that carry out inspections for flag states that do not do the
job themselves.

Much of the time, the work is contracted out to respected vessel classification
societies but there is no such requirement. Some countries may delegate the work to
as many as 20 different organisations. Checks range from the provision of safety
radios to the load lines that indicate how low in the water a ship may sit without being

Largely as a result, it has been through the alternative of port-side checks that the EU,
the US and the international community as a whole have sought to grapple with the
problem of rogue ships. Even here there are loopholes.

The IMO describes such checks, carried out by a network of regional port state control
organisations, as a "safety net to catch substandard ships". But these examinations,
to ensure that vessels entering ports meet international standards, inevitably fall short
of inspecting every vessel. Instead, targeting criteria are used, based on factors such
as previous history, flag state, length of time since last inspection.

According to Richard Schiferli of the port control organisation responsible for Europe
and the North Atlantic, the Prestige, which had not been checked by one of his
members since 1999, would have been a "priority ship . . . not what I would call
alarming but on the other hand an old tanker and we haven't seen it for a while".

Such decisions are, in most instances, local and discretionary; there is no statutory
co-ordination between the regional authorities. And in international law, port state
control is a voluntary, not an obligatory function. The chances of a seriously
substandard vessel being detained depend to a large extent on where it is sailing.

This, to a large extent, is where the EU comes in - and the basis on which it has built
its legislative programme, named after the Erika. Yesterday Ms de Palacio
complained that EU member states had dragged their feet in agreeing the proposals
that the Commission rushed out after Erika, contrasting their response with swift
action in the US after the Exxon Valdez disaster. But by European standards, the
legislation, now mostly agreed, but not yet in force, has come in near record time.

Under current EU law, member states must check a quarter of all the ships that call at
or just outside their ports, but have complete discretion about which ones they target.
From July next year, they will have to give priority to inspections of ships that are
ageing, fly flags of convenience or have been involved in accidents in the past. As a
result, Commission officials argue, ships like the Prestige will be scrutinised.

From 2004, EU countries will have to designate "ports of refuge for vessels" in
distress, such as the Prestige lacked as it struggled to survive on the choppy seas
away from Spain.

In line with an agreement the EU pushed for at the IMO, ships with single hulls, which
can be pierced at a blow, will be phased out by 2015. Tankers as old and as poorly
protected as the Prestige should disappear around 2005.

"It's a damn shame that this latest accident happened, but the changes on their way
will deal with these cases very soon," says one oil industry executive.

On Wednesday Ms de Palacio spoke of talks with Russia as a natural next step in
extending the EU's regime. Her officials argue it is up to member states to enact the
legislation that is in place. Privately they contrast the call by Jacques Chirac, the
French president, for "draconian" maritime security measures with France's failure to
observe even current law. The Commission is pursuing a legal case against France
for checking only 9 per cent of all ships in 2001, and has begun a similar action
against Ireland.

The Commission is also bitterly disappointed that it has not made greater progress
towards establishing clear rules for liability, an issue many member states feel is
better suited to the IMO. Despite the damage caused by the Erika disaster, the
shipowners' insurer was liable for only some $11m in compensation. By contrast,
approximately $145m is available from a mutual fund of oil companies to deal with the
disaster. As one oil executive says: "If you attach liability to a shipowner's wallet, he'll
pay a lot more attention."

The total cap for compensation settlements is increasing from $200m to $300m per
accident and a diplomatic conference will be held to discuss a supplementary fund
next year, but Ms de Palacio is pushing for a level of $1bn.

In the US, where the government passed the 1990 Oil Pollution Act in the wake of the
Exxon Valdez spill, environmental liability is more onerous. Exxon paid $2.2bn in
clean-up costs and $300m in damages to Alaskans.

One consequence of the Prestige disaster may be that Ms de Palacio has more hope
of getting her way. But in Galicia the fishermen worry that competing claims could be
tied up in litigation for years. In the meantime, the causes of the sinking have yet to
emerge; when they do, they will determine whether the ship is remembered as one of
the last great oil disasters or, instead, as a grim warning that much more needs to be

Additional reporting by Vanessa Houlder

.................................................. .................................................. .......................................

Lessons from Valdez: it could get messy
By Vanessa Houlder

Spanish authorities shovelling thick oil from the beaches of
Galicia can draw on experience painfully amassed during
scores of similar tragedies over the past 30 years.

The lesson from these disasters is mixed: on one hand, the
long-term damage is rarely as severe as initially feared. On
the other, clean-up operations are hardly ever as effective as
they could be - and sometimes make the problem worse.

Environmentalists' concerns about the Prestige spill centre on thousands of seabirds,
including the endangered Balearic shearwater, and the long-term toxicity of so me of
the components of the oil.

Yet there is evidence that populations of marine species are remarkably resilient; spilt
oil breaks down over time. "It is clear from all the research conducted over the past 30
years that oil spills rarely cause long-term environmental damage," says the
International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation.

Ian White, managing director of the ITOPF, is not as sanguine about clean-ups. "Most
significant oil spills are not dealt with as effectively as current technology should
allow," he says. He adds that, in general, clean-up efforts are hampered by
inadequate contingency plans, fragmented responsibility, a need to "learn on the job"
and a tendency to be influenced by political and media pressure rather than technical

Although the equipment for cleaning up oil spills has improved, there have been no
radical recent innovations. Tools are mostly limited to floating booms that concentrate
oil, devices that remove the oil and chemicals that disperse it. Newer techniques
include burning the oil in situ and accelerating its degradation using micro-organisms
. But both have limited applications.

There have also been developments in protecting living organisms. Fish cages can
be surrounded with plastic sheeting to protect them from floating oil. In a recent spill
in South Africa, temporary fencing on an offshore island was erected to stop penguins
reaching the oil slick.

But one of the main lessons from previous disasters is that there may be limited
scope for tackling oil pollution. Human intervention can cause more problems than it
solves. Using chemical dispersants can damage wildlife; when sand is cleaned
using heavy earth-moving equipment and bulldozers, the sand underneath the vehicle
tracks is often heavily contaminated. "What we have learnt is that where it is not
causing problems, it is best left alone," says Simon Boxall of the University of

This point is underlined by the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, which ranks as one of the
world's worst environmental disasters. The spill killed an estimated 250,000
seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbour seals and 250 bald eagles as well as up to
22 killer whales.

The clean-up, which lasted more than four summers and cost $2.1bn, involved
10,000 workers, about 1,000 boats and 100 aircraft. Inevitably, the disruption and
pollution resulting from the need to house and transport so many people added to the
area's environmental problems.

A 1992 study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that
most of the oil evaporated, dispersed into the water or degraded naturally. Clean-up
crews recovered about 14 per cent of the oil; about 13 per cent sank to the sea floor.
Nearly 2 per cent - about 216,000 gallons - remained on the beaches.

Volunteers' efforts failed to produce substantial results. According to the Exxon Valdez
Oil Spill Trustee Council, wave action from winter storms did m ore to clean the
beaches than all the human effort involved.


11-26-2002, 04:32 PM
Originally posted by ACB:
Well, now she's broken in two, a hundred miles out into the Atlantic.

Whose fault is that? Undoubtedly the fault of the Spanish Government - had they allowed the salvage company to bring her into a Spanish port, when they were first asked for permission to do so, she would now be safe and only 3,000 tons of her cargo would have spilled.

As it is, a lot more cargo will be spilled - possibly all of it.

Jim D - do you mean the oil industry per se or the tanker industry?Didn't realize that was part of the reason.

11-26-2002, 04:34 PM
Yeat another reason to switch over to alcohol fueled cars.

I think we could all live with drunk fish smile.gif

11-26-2002, 06:23 PM
So far as I can make out, the Prestige was an old ship, but one with a good track record, a reputable flag, a reputable Class Society and owners who were not a byword in the industry for bad practice. She had extensive steel renewals in way of her midship section, and it seems safe to assume that these would have been largely in the ballast tanks, because ballast tanks corrode faster - cargo oil tanks have oil in them, some of the time, and a skin of oil on the steel for the rest of the time, and are kept under an inert gas atmosphere, all of which adds up to an environment which is much less corrosive than aerated sea water, under air, alternating with wet steel in air, in a ballast tank.

Her side shell plating failed unexpectedly, seemingly in way of the ballast tanks, and this failure involved a bulkhead which caused the rupture of at least one cargo tank.

We now have a ship in a very delicate condition; ships are essentially dependent on their side members for their longitudinal strength, and one side of this ship has failed, throwing the stresses onto the other side and the two fore and aft internal bulkheads which a "single skin" tanker has, for strength. So we have roughly 75% strength. At the same time, she must counterflood to correct the list which she has acquired due to having at least two compartments open to the sea.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that a bulk carrier would have sunk at this point. Many of them do; but they don't carry oil....

The result of the counterflooding and the damage sustained is that the ship is now exceeding her permissible bending moment and shear force by maybe 200%.

To send a ship in that condition into the open Atlantic in November is to sink her. Had she been alowed into sheltered water, spilling oil as she was from one tank, her cargo might very well have been transferred, the stresses reduced carefully, and she could have been patched and sent to scrap in ballast.

As to why the side shell plating failed, my guess, and it is no more than a guess, is that the site of the failure may have been in old plating adjacent to new, where the greater strength and stiffness of the new steel increased the stresses on the old, but we will have to await the results of the Bahamian Government enquiry.

11-29-2002, 12:45 AM
Guys if i can point some things out.
Greed is the cause of all of this. And i actually *cringe* have to help out the conservatives here.
Capitolism , Free Trade, and Profit motive are not the same thing. Capitolism can and does exist without free trade in the US and always will. Capitolism is about the trade of Money. Capitolism is Usury. It is the federal reserve system. We have a VERY controlled economy, yup just like the Soviets did but a little more indirectly. Free trade means pretty much no trade barriers. The true definition of free trade is no unfair barriers due to location, political boundaries et al. IE though WTO is going to override our environmental laws, it is through a misunderstanding of free trade. Free trade means that if the US has strong laws that require no child labor we have the right to only accept products not produced with such so long as its not a calculated ploy ONLY aimed to keep a nation out of our markets. On the other hand if our law states "No chemicals based on DDT may be used".. a multinational cant ship them in and cry "free trade violation". They can ship in products following those laws. It and capitolism are totally unrelated and usually mutually exclusive. Profit motive is what Alan was talking about and it is why this stuff happens. Its also why our laws, despite dems fighting for them, continually get attacked by the right and weakend (its about to get BAD folks). So in fact capitolism isnt the cause. Greed is. Capitolism is just a byproduct of greed. A trick, like the stock market(legalised gambling), to allow new avenues for greed. In fact the real difference between liberals and conservatives is right there. Liberals want to use the government to control corporate greed and protect the citizenry. Conservative view it as a vast pool of money to subsidise its not quite so freemarket corporations and as a way to do things like condemn private property for corporate use. Dems want to make it illegal for you to say.. use mercury in vaccines to protect people. The gop wants to use it to shield the corporations from those evil dead people trying to sue it for poisoning them. (True story btw).

On the other hand alan and others arguing common law. I've actually lived under the system your talking about where common law is the only thing protecting the environment. IE in Kentucky the land of coal mines. And the water rights law your talking about protected the flow of water. IE the mine at the top of the stream cant block a stream for its personal use or reroute it to keep the mine clear of water and affect those people below it. They regularly dumped anything they felt like into it though. Endless miles of sulphur and shale.. go visit the coal mining regions of kentucky sometime. It also has those things you conservatives like to pretend dont exist... poverty among working people who work sixty hours a week in hellish conditions.

And one last thing. Actually the average person now is very concerned with the environment. Moreso than almost anyone realised. The green party polled at 7% despite being locked out of the election and debate process by the other parties. The greens are where the most hardcore environmentalists find a home. The democrats are the 'mainstream' environmental party and despite having No message this time they lost a few seats to a 'wartime' president. Bush lost the popular vote by 500,000 votes to a democrat known mostly for his environtmental views. Gore , if one thing, is environmental polluters worst nightmare.

Sorry for the spiel but.. well while conservatives do need to be put in their place after all these years of flat out lies, Alan and the others here are correct that capitolism is just a mechanism. Capitolism is the buying and selling of DEBT. (Alan im not calling you guys liars. Im calling people like George Bush and George Will liars. I respect PRINCIPLED conservatives. i just think you guys got hoodwinked by a bunch of corporate shills).

Expect to see environmental regulation disappear in the next two years. The people controlling bush know that if the dems wake up and grow a pair bush is gone in 2 years and they want osha, social security, workers comp, unions, and environmental regulation GONE by that time.

11-30-2002, 06:00 PM
Took'em long enough!

Alaska Fishermen Receive Exxon Valdez Checks
Money Includes Compensatory Damages That Were Not Distributed

POSTED: 1:22 p.m. EST November 30, 2002

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Another ripple from the Exxon Valdez oil spill -- but this one's green, not black.

About 2,000 Alaskan fishermen around Cook Inlet will share more than $21 million.

Paul Shadura, who is the president of the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen's Association, says the checks couldn't come at a better time, especially with the low price of salmon and the holidays coming up.

Through the winter, fishermen in other regions of the state will get checks drawn from a pool of $100 million that has been held in trust for years.

The money includes compensatory damages paid by Exxon but never distributed in the aftermath of the spill, plus some Native claims settlements and interest.

The payments are separate from the $5 billion in punitive damages that Exxon continues to contest in court.http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/1812836/detail.html

ion barnes
12-08-2002, 06:14 PM
My concern is with the long term effects and for that I would try to find data from the end of WW2. There are many cases of shipping sunk close to shore and none of it was cleaned up. Curious to know what some people took for granted or looked the other way. At that time it was most likely the former. I remember one of the discovery voyages (Kon Tiki or Seven Sisters or the like) and it was mentioned about the oil balls. Present day; I think the coastal countries need to be concerned about the containment first rather than who should blink first and cover the cost. Perhaps a groupe thing shared between coastal nations would be more benafical. The transport companies could also help out or maybe they as a group alone would bare the total cost.

12-09-2002, 04:48 AM
I can remember, as a child growing up on the east coast of England, that "going to the beach" would probably involve getting a ball of tar stuck to one's foot at some point in the day. It is not like that now.

However, having said that, quite a big slick of weathered old fuel oil is washing ashore on that same east coast of England right now. Nobody knows where it comes from, but it is certainly old, and there is too much for it to be tank washings. Maybe WW2. Makes no difference to the birds - they still die.

martin schulz
01-23-2003, 11:22 AM
Ok now - its been 3 months what has happened?

1. Despite every "expert" expectation oil even reached french coasts.
2. Despite "expert" statement oil is still leaking out of the wreck
3. A lot of money and personal effort is still put into closing the leaks with a sub, cleaning the coastline, saving animals.

What also has happened.
Greenpeace and friends of mine went into the "Kadettrinne" (which is the Baltic-ship-Motorway) with a 100years old Shooner SUNTHORICE" to keep Tankers in the Baltic. They did an astonishing job. The SUNTHORICE anchored there and the Greenpeace Crew worked in 4 shifts 24 hours a day for the last 3 month. Neclecting the often very bad and cold weather eveytime a ship appeared they went out with a boat and drove up to the ship to make out the ship's name (in 2m Waves, iced boats, etc...). Apart from the "fun" they had those Greenpeace-people found out some displeasing things. There are too much One-hull-tanker still afloat and sailing in the Baltic. The worst case is the "Klements Gotvalgs", a 25years old tanker (Liberian flagged). That ship was retained 3 days in August 24th in Canada (21 defects), then 3 month later english officials retained the ship for 20 major defects and now the 39.870 tn ship is en route in the Baltic.

I don't like everything that greenpeace does, sometimes they put showeffects before reason, but I may join the training when they start their program again in Flensburg.


01-24-2003, 05:21 PM

...and russians are building 4th or so oil harbour near Petersburg, among some of the navigationally most difficult skerries in world, and now there is about 40 to 50 ships sitting in the ice around there - a nice kettle of oil if one of those single-hulled ones (even good ones...) hit some stones seriously around here. Even the finnish oil tankers do it - one found some stones around '95 or so but luckily it was double-hulled version, weather was fine and it was summer.

If something like Prestige would happen here in winter the oil would be under the ice, sink to bottom, foul the shores and the thousands of small islands - and none of the countries around here, us included, has enough stuff to do anything about it...

not a nice pic when one thinks about it...