Why another Exxon Valdez could happen

March 24 16:24 2005 Print This Article

Sixteen years ago this week, the Exxon Valdez oil spilled 11 million gallons of oil in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and horrified Alaska and the world.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is running a special series on
the environmentally precarious state of modern oil-tanker transport.
Some key findings of its investigation: Post-Valdez initiatives
intended to reduce crew hours, require more tug escorts for tankers,
and crack down on alcohol use are all regularly dodged. Many West
Coast officials have been lobbying to loosen tug-escort rules meant
to help shepherd tankers safely to port. Also, even 16 years later,
Exxon still hasn’t double-hulled any of its Alaskan tankers. And
even modern double-hulled tankers are still vulnerable to spills thanks to human fallibility.
Interviews with crew members and internal company documents reveal serious safety lapses on vessels that are considered to be the best tankers in the world.

“…The stakes are very high. ConocoPhillips ships each carry nearly 38 million gallons of oil into some of Washington’s most delicate waters.Experts say a spill of just 1 million gallons in any portion of Western Washington’s waterway would be impossible to control and would devastate wildlife, fishing, commerce, tourism, ferry traffic and the daily enjoyment of the state’s most precious asset for months, perhaps years….”Read More..

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Eric Nalder

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