Friday, July 13, 2007

High Profile Oil Spill off of Ibiza Means More Trouble for Merchant Mariners

Maritime workers near the Balearic island of Ibiza are cleaning up three local hot spots after inspectors discovered a sunken merchant ship which had leaked ten tons of fuel into the waters earlier this week. The beaches that the spills have effected are tourist attractions.

The ship, Don Pedro, was transporting 150 tons of fuel (gasoline?) and 50 of diesel fuel from Ibiza to the eastern Spanish city of Valencia when it sunk on Wednesday after it hit some rocks. Inspectors discovered the leak, which is currently 3.5 miles long by half a mile wide, development Minister Magdalena Alvarez said in a press conference on Thursday.

Emergency services said they had rescued 20 crew members from the Don Pedro roll-on/roll-off cargo ferry after it rammed a small promontory just off Ibiza in the early hours. Two ships were at the site and floating dams were to be set up to try to minimise the impact of the leak, that was near the coast, the rescue services said in a statement.
This small oil spill will be damaging to the maritime industry although it pales in comparison to some of the past oil related catastrophes because this incident will have less environmental impact. This spill has become worldwide news because it has landed in the middle of a tourist attraction. Pollution has been a hot topic for many years now, starting with the Exxon Valdez, then the spill of of the Galapagos Islands, and the cover-up of oily discharge by OSG employees. This spill is just going to add more fuel to the fire, empowering environmental groups that would like to see us shut down. Should we expect tighter regulations in the future... can it get any worse?

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