Taking stock after the Sea Empress

The committee set up to assess the environmental impacts of the 1996 Sea Empress disaster published its report in February. 1 Some wildlife species are still struggling to recover from the effects of the oil spill, but most - thanks to a highly fortuitous set of circumstances - were little affected or are well on the road to recovery. Meanwhile, the Government has disregarded the conclusions of a cost-benefit analysis and provided no additional salvage tugs to guard against a similar incident.

Experience over the past four decades has shown that most ecosystems have the capacity to recover fairly quickly from the effects of oil pollution - indeed, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution concluded as much in 1981. There are exceptions to the rule - sensitive habitats such as mangrove swamps and coral reefs, and the polar regions where oil volatilises and degrades slowly - but in general the grosser effects of oil are not much

Please sign in or register to continue.

Sign in to continue reading

Having trouble signing in?

Contact Customer Support at
or call 020 8267 8120

Subscribe for full access

or Register for limited access

Already subscribe but don't have a password?
Activate your web account here