The Braer Tanker and Ocean Pollution

The article "Britain Begins Look Into Causes of Spill," Jan. 8, regarding the Braer tanker disaster along the coast of Shetland in northern Scotland, brings to mind a fact I have not read in any report on the disaster.

On the average, every day of the year, 1,644 tons of oil end up in oceans around the world due to normal shipping operations. The Braer was carrying 85,000 tons of oil, so, normal daily oil losses in the ocean are equivalent to a Braer disaster occurring every 51 days. In one year, the equivalent of seven Braer tankers are losing their entire contents into the oceans. It certainly is time for the International Maritime Organization to apply tighter controls over tanker construction to assure that 1,644 t ons of oil are not lost every 24 hours in the normal course of ocean oil shipping.

The expense of taking appropriate precautions needs to be mandated as a part of the normal cost of shipping oil. It would help reduce a serious negative impact on our oceans' ecosystems, which are being impacted adversely by so many sources of pollution. G. B. Lloyd, Southwest Harbor, Maine

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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