Saturday, October 15, 2011

This makes me Angry

I do not know how much news about the ship on the reef near the port of Tauranga. NZ is reaching the world outside Australia and New Zealand.

Hopefully a window of good weather over the next few days will allow authorities to pump out much of the oil.
The authorities seemed to have reacted like stunned mullet for the first week.At least thousands of volunteers are now joining the army and other professional groups to clean up the beaches and finally being given some training.
Some birds and anilmals are being rescued but over 1000 seabirds have died.

Fishermen and tourist operators are facing economic loss.
My anger is that the Greek owners of the ship have apologised but why was their ship registered with Liberia and manned by a Filipino crew. These seems to be ways of shipping companies minimising costs and reducing compliance with regulations. Full details will not be known until a long and costly inquiry is held. Apparently they are only liable for a maximum of 14 million dollars.
However it seems there were questions about the ship recently while in port in both Perth, Australia and Bluff, NZ. The captain was celebrating his birthday on board when the ship ran aground in good weather and both he and the 2nd officer have been charged in court. Locals say ships often go close to the well charted reef probably to save fuel.
As we are discovering in inquiries into the Pike River Mine Disaster and even some of the buildings flattened in the Christchurch earthquake,  there is suspicion that some cost cutting has occurred.
As usual we see big business maximising profits and to hell with the consequences.


Anonymous said...

This awful event has received wide coverage on the BBC.

June Butler said...

Brian, I read the continuing story with horror and get flashbacks to the gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. Why do so many ships from so many different countries fly under the flag of Liberia?

Birdie said...

I first learned about Liberia's ship registry when a freighter (with a Liberian registry) rammed into Florida's Sunshine Skyway in a rain storm at night, causing cars and buses to drive off the broken 300 foot high span into the sea. It was horrible, and the press covered how such a thing could happen.

Turns out that countries charge different rates to license a ship to float. Those with the highest standards charge very reasonable rates. It costs a lot of money to meet those standards, so a ship from Norway, the U.S., and other sea-faring first-world countries have the best safety records.

Ship owners who don't want to pay to maintain high standards can instead pay higher registry fees. Liberia makes a huge income from its registry fees, licensing basically anything that floats. Over 90% of all ships involved in oil spills are registered in Liberia.

Did you know there are cruise ships with Liberian registries? I will never step on such a ship.

I'm so sorry this happened on your coast. No one will step up to pay for it, so you are stuck with the costs of clean-up. Those animals are paying with their lives. We need an international agreement to not allow Liberian ships into our local waters. That may be the only way to stop this from happening over and over.

Brian R said...

Thanks for the explanation, Birdie. I will certainly check any cruise ships I may possibly travel on. Hope all is progressing well with you.

June Butler said...

I meant sail under the flag of Liberia. Yes, I knew the answer to my own rhetorical question. Liberia's standards are lower than those of many other countries.