With reference to Bernie Smith’s letter in the April 2 edition of The NEWS (‘Ill-informed opinions’), I offer the following observations.
Double-hulled tankers are not the panacea for prevention of future pollution. These tankers have now been in service since 1993. The between-hull construction and inspection raised serious concerns in the 2005 report from the European Maritime Safety Agency.
I acknowledge Smith’s 25 years of world sea service and note he never experienced a single oil spill. You are not alone. Neither did thousands of other seafarers. But since 1967, more than 2.5 million tonnes of oil has been spilled into oceans, according to the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation report of 2012.
Smith is correct when he says that ship navigation and communication equipment is far superior today than what he had to contend with. Both the Exxon Valdez and the Queen of the North were equipped with the latest technology.
As with Smith, I have had 25 years in a marine environment. Unlike Smith, I was actively involved in trying to contain spillage from the first major tanker disaster, the Torrey Canyon, when she ran aground off the UK in 1967.
With regard to advances in clean-up technology, there is still no effective way to clean up oil spillage. If Smith does know of a way, the local government on the Scilly Isles would appreciate a heads up — they are still trying to rid their beaches from the 1967 spill.
I close with a question: exactly who is hard-headed and ill informed here?