Tuesday, August 12, 2003
It was the largest oil spill in American history - and it was, in a sense, largely the fault of one man. The tanker Exxon Valdez, remember, ran aground on a reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound. The resulting oil spill did incalculable damage to the local fishing industry, to the environment in that very majestic piece of America, and to a lot of wildlife. The Commander of the Coast Guard said the passage there is ten miles across. He said, "So wide, your children could pilot a tanker through there!" So how did it happen? Well, an unlicensed third-mate was on the bridge that day, piloting the vessel. He was where the captain should have been. The captain was down below! That disaster happened because the man who should have been on the bridge wasn't!