Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Looking Back - Oil Tanker Runs Aground Off Shetland

On this day in 1993, a tanker carrying 85,000 tonnes of crude oil has ran aground in hurricane force winds off the Shetland Islands.
The captain and crew of the vessel were airlifted to safety by helicopter when it became clear the disaster was imminent.
The Liberian-registered MV Braer tanker was on its way from Norway to Canada when it lost power in Force 11 gales early in the morning.
It ran aground on rocks in Quendale Bay, just west of Sunburgh Head, on the south tip of Shetland, just before midday, despite desperate efforts by salvage teams to prevent a collision.
Early reports suggest oil was already pouring from the ruptured tanks on the vessel.
The Shetland Islands Council activated its major disaster plan in an attempt to avert a major environmental catastrophe in the area, which is internationally renowned for seabirds and marine life.
But Greenpeace spokesperson Paul Horsman said it would be "virtually impossible to avert a major ecological catastrophe."
The 800-foot vessel was built in Japan in 1975 and does not have the more modern double hull which would lessen the chance of an oil-spillage.
Local people in Shetland have long-expected an accident on their remote shores and contingency plans to deal with the environmental impact of such a disaster were in place.
But a catastrophe on this scale was never predicted. The Braer was carrying twice as much crude oil as the Exxon Valdez, which ran aground off Alaska four years ago.
The Shipping Minister Lord Caithness has ordered a wide-ranging inquiry into the disaster

A total of 84,700 tonnes of crude oil spilled into the North Sea after the MV Braer ran aground, causing huge damage.
A report into the disaster, published in 1994, said bad weather was largely to blame for the accident.
But it also condemned the actions of the ship's captain, Alexandros Gelis, who, it said, demonstrated a fundamental lack of basic seamanship.
By October 1995 a total of £45m had been paid out in compensation but a moratorium on payments was then imposed as the International Oil Pollution Fund neared its limit of £50m.
In April 2001, Jim Wallace, Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland called for the inquiry into the disaster to be re-opened amid claims the ship had been unfit to sail.
To watch a vieo clip of the stricken tanker, click on the link below:

A Matter Of Convenience

Who Am I?

Today's puzzle is a 'Who Am I?' challenge. Solve the ten clues given below and they will lead to the name of a well known celebrity. Have a go and see how you get on.

01 I was born 19 January 1980.
02 My place of birth was Frome, Smerset.
03 I was educated at Selwood Middle School and then Frome Community College.
04 My father, John, was a well known Rallycross driver, married to my mother Simone.
05 My parents are now divorced.
06 I have three elder sisters.
07 At the age of eight I started karting.
08 In 1991, I won all 34 races of the British Cadet Kart Championships, along with the title.
09 I entered Formula Three racing in 1999.
10 I had my first Formula One race for Williams in the 2000 Australian Grand Prix.

Any ideas about who the mystery celebrity might be. Answer in tomorrow's Journal.

Awesome Wildlife

Today, we are going to look through the round window!
(Click on image to enlarge)

Today's Smile

Two priests die at the same time and meet St Peter at the Pearly Gates.
St Peter says. "I'd like to get you guys in now but our computers are down. You'll have to go back to earth for about a week, but you can't go back as humans. What will it be?"
The first priest says. "I've always wanted to be an eagle, soaring above the Rocky Mountains."
"So be it," says St Peter, and off flies the priest.
The second priest mulls this over for a moment and then asks, "Will you be keeping track of us, St Peter?"
"No, I told you the computer is down. There's no way we can keep track of what you are doing. This week's a freebie."
"In that case." says the second priest, "I've always wanted to be a stud."
"So be it," says St Peter, and the second priest disappears.
A week goes by, the computer is fixed and the Lord tells St Peter to recall the two priests.
"Will you have trouble locating them?" asks the Lord.
"The first one should be easy," says St Peter. "He's somewhere over the Rocky Mountains flying with the eagles. But the second one could prove a bit more difficult."
"Why?" asks the Lord.
"Because he's on a snow tyre somewhere in Alaska."