Letter: Act now to prevent shipping tragedies

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Sir: You briefly report (3 January) the loss of yet another large ship, the Marika 7, and the probable loss of 36 lives, together with the loss of 17 crew in a separate incident off Japan.

Since 1991, there have been more than 50 losses of large ships. There are problems with the scale of design of these huge vessels, problems with all welded structures and problems in service due to corrosion and fatigue. There are problems with dangerous shifting cargoes, particularly heavy ores, and there are problems arising from commercial pressures on the utilisation of these ships.

All these difficulties have been common knowledge for a long time. The Derbyshire was lost in 1980; the Government has rejected calls for an inquiry. The time has come for international action to prevent any further tragedies. How many more lives must be

sacrificed?

Yours faithfully,

R. A. SMITH

Department of Mechanical and

Process Engineering

University of Sheffield

Sheffield

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