Oil spurts into air as tanker breaks up
Tuesday 12 January 1993
The mid-section is thought to have come apart from the stern and bow and the hull bottom was reported to be cracked from end to end, raising fears that all 84,500 tonnes of oil on board could be discharged into the sea.
Witnesses described how oil was spurting 20ft into the air before being blown on to rocks by winds reaching 100mph. As much as 20,000 tonnes was said to have drained from the ship in six hours.
As fears rose that the vessel would disintegrate rapidly in the hurricane-force winds, the Government ordered a second and more wide-ranging inquiry into the disaster in the face of concerted pressure for firm action from its critics.
Lord Donaldson of Lymington, the former Master of the Rolls, has been asked to advise on whether further measures are appropriate and feasible to protect the UK coastline from pollution by merchant shipping.
In Shetland, severe weather has made salvage work impossible. Captain Geert Kofferman, the salvage chief from Smit Tak, estimates that more than half of the ship's cargo has been discharged into the sea. Gales are forecast to continue for at least another 24 hours, by the end of which most
of the cargo is likely to have been discharged.
The announcement of the second inquiry, in a Commons statement by John MacGregor, Secretary of State for Transport, was being taken as a concession to opposition and public criticisms that the Department of Trade and Industry's Marine Accident Investigation Branch investigation would do little to prevent environmental disasters.
Labour MPs appeared satisfied, despite its containing a rider from Mr MacGregor that Lord Donaldson should give consideration to the 'international and economic implications of any new measures'.
While this could give Lord Donaldson a convenient get-out in the likely event of heavy opposition from the oil and merchant shipping lobbies, Labour MPs, including John Prescott, transport spokesman, broadly welcomed the wider inquiry.
It is flagged as a public one but Lord Donaldson will have the freedom to hear evidence in private if he believes that is necessary.
Ian Lang, Secretary of State for Scotland, told MPs that a 'bridging fund' of up to several million pounds would begin paying compensation to farmers and fishermen while insurance claims were settled.
Emphasising that the 'polluter pays' principle applied in the case of the Braer, Mr MacGregor said pounds 50m would be available from the vessel's insurer and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund.
Mr Lang said that an ecological steering group would develop strategies for dealing with the implications of the oil spillage for the islands' natural development.
Angry islanders are not satisfied with statements in the Commons yesterday suggesting that recompense would have to come from the polluters.
Magnus Flaws, a local councillor, said: 'This is not what we are wanting to hear. What we need is money now. Who is going to pay the salmon farmer who has lost his harvest. If it is left to the polluter to pay it could take three years or more.'
- 1 The scientist who takes 100 drugs a day so he can live to 150
- 2 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small Family Accountancy Practi...
£18000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is recruiting for ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing SaaS (Softwar...