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Albatros CMF 11-30-2002 02:58 AM

This is a message from Galicia.. in NW Spain.. where, as you all may already know, some days ago, an old single-hull oil tanker named PRESTIGE cracked and sunk causing a tremendous oil slick that has been polluting and killing the Galician sea and coast in over 300 miles.. firstly with about 10,000 tons of toxic heavy fuel that hit the shore last week.. and now with 11,000 tons more which are just about to hit a much wider area during the weekend.. and the situation is far from seeing its end as thousands of the 50,000 tons still remaining at the bottom of the sea at just over 100 miles off the coast are leaking off the sunken vessel and starting to float in the area.. and which will eventually hit Galicia again, but even portugal, France, UK.. depending on winds and currents..

The situation in Galicia is terrible.. from the very first moment.. with technically-ignorant politicians leading the operation.. forbidding private volunteers and citizen organizations from cleaning the beaches and protecting the fish farms, the estuaries, the birds.. cheating on the Galician population, trying to minimize the real dimension of this catastrophe.. even denying the existence of an oil slick.. while other European governments, specialized organizations, foreign and national technicians, were already confirming Europe''s biggest ever oil pollution disaster.. since what is already a tragedy is nothing but the tip of the iceberg.. the worst is yet to come..

The tanker, owned by THE SAME Greek holding that was behind the disasters of AEGEAN SEA in Galicia 10 years ao and ERIKA in France, sailing under PANAMA flag, and chartered by the Russian ALPHA GROUP, was in a very poor condition, and loaded with toxic heavy fuel, with an incredibly high sulphur content and loads of carcinogenic substances.. and loads of that heavy fuel are not floating but spreading all over the seabed, killing fish and shellfish in the bottom.. killing all birds on the beaches.. and already affecting the lungs of the few volunteers that managed to bypass government''s control and started to clean up the beaches..

Galicia lives OFF the sea.. FOR the sea.. BY the sea.. thousands of fishermen, shellfish farmers, sailors, have lost their income.. their daily bread and butter.. when they were starting to recover from the AEGEAN SEA tragedy of 1992.. and previous tragedies of URQUIOLA in the 70s.. CASON in the 80s.. and the most important fishing and fish farming area in the world has been destroyed.. and is still being destroyed as I type this letter.. because there is no response from the government.. there are no means to clean up the spill.. there are no barriers.. the means are so scarce and inadequate that are virtually useless.. and the lack of experience and know-how of the politicians handling this situation is increasing the magnitude of this catastrophe by the minute..

Not only volunteers have been told off the beaches.. there is no coordinaton or organization of efforts at all.. neither technical means nor human resources.. and international help offered hours after the situation started has never been accepted.. except for a couple of boats that arrived too late and which cannot operate in the adverse weather conditions we are suffering these days..

Planes and helicopters have just been banned off the area so that nobody can take pictures or live shots of the Galician coast or sea.. !!!!!!!!!!!!

Thousands of people in the area.. not just the fishermen and their families, but all of us who love the sea and sailing on it.. our sea.. YOUR SEA.. because the sea belongs to us and to you too.. it belongs to ALL of us.. or at least that''s what I feel when I sail in UK waters , Spanish waters or anywhere else.. I feel we all own a bit of it.. and I reckon we should all feel affected by this atrocity.. even if the oil slick does not get to our very own coastal villages and harbours..

As you probably guess from reading this letter.. it is written in a state of anger, fear, anxiety, worry, which is shared by thousands of people here in Galicia.. that horrible feeling of being absolutely powerless, abandoned, alone.. because Galicia has been left to die.. silently!!! this is no longer just an unforeseen accident.. this is not unvoluntary homicide or manslaughter.. this is MURDER.. and it is being carried out in the MEDIA DARKNESS.. hiding it with lies and disinformation.. misleading international interest.. minimizing media impact.. killing us with a hand covering our mouth so that our cries do not hit national and international headlines!!!!

We all depend on making this public and widely known as the ONLY WAY to force European politicians to put an immediate end to this situation and future tragedies all over Europe by passing strong and urgent bills to prevent crappy tankers from sailing across our seas at a short distance of our shores.. by enforcing inspections off ALL vessels at ALL harbours and arresting those which do no not meet safety standards.. by banning oil companies from making huge profits by putting all of us at risk.. by making the companies behind the PRESTIGE, the AEGEAN SEA, the BRAER, the SEA EMPRESS, the ERIKA, and so many others have not just economical but legal liability for their actions.. even go to jail (not the Masters, who are simply doing their job the best they can.. but the GREEDY PIGS who sit comfortably at their homes, miles away, while reading the news on these catastrophes.. and who even make more money out of them.. with cargos insured at 110% of their value.. and crappy ships very well covered and paid by insurance companies..) by making class societies be strict and not affected by the pressure from their "clients".. by not allowing shipowners to by pass all safety regulations by using convenience flags and "slave" crews with no technical knowlege of shipping..

This is a MAYDAY RELAY message from Galicia and its people.. for you to transmit the best way you can.. to as many people as possible.. using all possible means.. word of mouth.. internet forums worldwide.. websites.. letters to editors.. mass media articles.. whatever!!!! please don''t let our sea.. YOUR SEA.. be killed silently.. speak up if you can.. because most of the people suffering, crying, praying, here in Galicia cannot do it.. and it is our future and the future of our kids we are dealing with..

When my dad took me to see the burning URQUIOLA I was the same age my kids are today.. and it is me now taking them to see PRESTIGE''s slick.. my youth was marked by those YEARS of tar covered beaches and rocks.. by the dead birds on the beaches.. by the acrid smell of the sea.. and I hoped then that it would never happen again.. but it did, back in 92.. when I was starting to be an adult.. and it did again a few days ago.. and it is my kids now who will suffer during the coming years the effects of this tragedy..

Let''s all do our utmost so that it never happens again.. neither in Galicia.. nor wherever you are.. NEVER AGAIN.. NOWHERE..

Best regards from Galicia.. in NW Spain.. and thanks to all of you who share our feelings and who understand what Galician people are going through.. especially to those who have contacted us and volunteered to help.. we need it.. and shall need it for a long time..


928frenzy 11-30-2002 04:16 AM

Posting this unrelated message to several specific bulletin boards was not well thought out. The only board in which it falls under is the General Discussion BBS. You could have spared the rest of us your temper tantrum by placing the message to that BBS and to no other.

Oil spills are indeed a tragedy. However, transportation accidents have and will happen regardless of how many safe-guards are taken. I would not be blaming anyone - just yet. There are many variables in this case, and the jury is still out as to why it happened and who are to blame. As Bart Simpson would say, "Cool your jets man."

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~

Irwin32 11-30-2002 12:04 PM


Do you have stock in oil companies? This situation off the coast of Spain is indeed a concern to all of us who love the water. Even if it is in the wrong catagory, it is an issue we must all deal with. As long as we depend on oil this will be a constant threat to the waters we all sail on. Sell your SUV and save our waterways.

928frenzy 11-30-2002 01:06 PM

I am precluded from buyin stock in oil companies that hold leases in the USA. I am neither a friend nor an enemy of the oil and gas industry.

Having said that, the oils spills that occur as a result of transportation accidents are indeed tragic and usually severe to the environment in the short term. In the long run (after 20 years), the effects will be a distant memory with hardly a trace, if any at all.

I don''t have an SUV, and I don''t want one. I do have a Porsche, and love it. Does it use gas - you bet! Do I care, yes, but I also like the way it performs, so I''ll pay the price for gas and grin and bear it.

Back to the transportation problem. So long as there is a demand for petroleum products, and those products need to be transported, there will be a chance of leakage. We all have to decide, how much risk is acceptable. If we say we want no risk, then we will have to learn to live with the energy supplies that are near to us along with their associated costs. Perhaps the transportation costs will be minimal, but the cost of extraction, and conversion may be rather costly. One of the reasons gasoline is so much in demand is because it is relatively cheap and (so far) plentiful. If and when another energy source gets to be cheaper than gasoline, then we may see a radical shift away from the use of hydrocarbons. Till then, don''t through out your car, or your oil-fueled electricity generating plant.

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~

Albatros CMF 11-30-2002 01:39 PM

Hi 928frenzy..

I must apologize for having posted my letter in a BBS which is not explicitly devoted to oil spills in Europe.. you are right.. but I thought this one was the one with more readers and that some could be interested, and those who were not would just click back and carry on with their business..

Having said that.. I can see you have no idea about this matter.. and no interest in learning about it.. so that''s it, forget my message and go enjoy your Porsche..

But.. if you care to know a bit more about it.. I would tell you that I bet my car is as German as yours.. as powerful as yours and probably faster (at least we can do 130 mph here in Spain).. which means we are not talking about silly things like not using gas or stopping the world because oil cannot be transported.. this is not cheap and politically biased environmental ********..

we are talking of a Russian bunch of cutthroats who chartered a crappy vessel which in spite of being a floating ruin had passed the inspection of the AMERICAN BUREAU OF SHIPPING.. and being owned by a Greek pirate who was responsible for the last 3 major oil spills in Europe over the past 10 years (namely AEGEAN SEA, ERIKA, and PRESTIGE).. to transport TOXIC HEAVY FUEL in a ship using a flag of convenience to skip safety and quality regulations and crewed by cheap slave sailors with no bloody idea of shipping..

THAT is what we are talking about.. there are ways to guarantee your Porsche gets all the gas you need across the Atlantic without killing the sea.. without ruining a country''s economy.. without rendering thousands of families unemployed.. and without harming the environment any more than your Porsche''s exhaust pipe does.. or mine.. which I''m not critizicing here.. (we gotta live with it till BMW''s hidrogen engines are widely available)..

The OIL POLLUTION ACT was a great thing.. for YOU.. but only applicable in US.. we are just seeking help to get one for the rest of us.. in Europe.. and in the rest of the world..

The worst of our nightmare is still to come.. and there is already another Greek crappy tanker.. as old and as unseaworthy as Prestige.. chartered by the same bastards.. already leaving Estonia.. to follow the same route, loaded with the same rubbish.. THAT IS WHAT WE ARE FIGHTING AGAINST.. not your Porsche''s gas.. let''s transport fuel and oil.. but in DOUBLE HULL TANKERS.. MEETING ALL SAFETY STANDARDS.. USING SAFE ROUTES.. as American major oil companies do now.. after having been forced by US citizens to do so..

Best regards.. and happy sailing..


jbarros 11-30-2002 02:53 PM

when he mentioned that you had the wrong board, he ment that you would want to place this in the general section of this self same board, as opposed to the BUYING A BOAT section which is about people BUYING BOATS. whereas the general section would be a much better way to atract atention to the matter.

Oil spills are a tragedy of the greatest magnatude, however, SPAMMING on a bbs does very little to help the situation.

Were I to run onto a freeway and stop you to tell you about an oil spill, while you would probibly agree that it''s bad, you would also be rather upset that I was using the freeway, and taking your time while you''re on your way to whereever you''re going to do it. Likewise, you would most likley take offence towards me, and possibly my cause, as valid as it may be, simply because of my assanine presentation.

Your cause is proper, your method is not. I suggest limiting your posts to general purpouse, and environmental, or local based boards where it would be a relevent topic. Poor tactics on the behalf of a cause can hurt it as much as good tactics by the enemy.

oh, btw, I ride a 500cc bike. Faster than either of your cars, 60mpg, and $58 a year insurance. so :-p

-- James

windship2 11-30-2002 03:02 PM

I can''t believe anybody could be as insensitive as to post a reply like that after a post about an incident that should have anybody, who cares about our Earth, concerned at least.
I, for one, wish you''d have kept your thoughts to yourself.
If a spill like the one in mention were to happen to us, I don''t think anyone would care where the disscussion took place. I wouldn''t.


928frenzy 12-01-2002 04:29 AM

Apparently, you are wrong, as at least one other (jbarros) thinks the original message should not have been posted to this BBS. I suspect others feel the same way, but do not want to make an issue of it. I did, and would do so again. I come to this BBS to get information about buying a boat. If I want information about environmenta disasters, I''d go to another BBS.

~ Happy sails to you ~_/) ~

P.S. I''ve driven my Porsche at speeds for which it was designed - namely over 150 MPH. BTW, I''ve done it legally, on race tracks with other performance oriented enthusiasts.

Denr 12-02-2002 04:49 AM

Perhaps the original poster could have used some constraint with his comments by using a targeted approach (one posting) rather than the shotgun method he used, but I think he was trying to motivate people to do what they could to keep this from happening again.

That said, the government of Spain (according to what I''ve read) refused the tanker safe refuse in their harbor and sent the ship back out to sea in bad weather, high seas which only exacerbated the problem. The spill could have been contained if the government would have allowed the tanker access to an area that could have been used to control the spill, albeit in their harbor.

Regardless of who is at fault, this is a true tragedy; it could have just as easily happened on the Atlantic seaboard.

By the way, fiendzy, are we supposed to be impressed that you drive a souped up Volkswagen? Do you want a cookie?

928frenzy 12-02-2002 08:24 AM

My Porsche 928 is not quite a ''souped up VW''. I don''t really care if you or anyone else is impressed that I drive a Porsche. All that really matters about my Porsche is what I think of it.

That said, I was only responding to the comment about SUVs. Apparently, many folks think all Americans own SUVs. Clearly, that''s an erroneous assumption.

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~

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