Flags of convenience, multi-national crews and vessels in some excess more than 40 years old with only a single hull. Safety measures which exist on land and in the air, like age and performance, do not appear to extend to the sea. Plying the seas and in some cases carrying dangerous cargoes there are a fleet of vessels flying flags which you would probably never recognise and whose crews speak languages which you would have difficulty to comprehend. This is not a state of affairs which is happening a million miles away, it is occuring just off our shores. The sinking of the Prestige off the coast of Galicia has once again underlined the dangers which face us. What is needed is a new code and every European nation must be involved. If a ship is carrying a dangerous cargo it must be checked and re-checked by the relevant nation or the European Union. Vessels like the Prestige cannot be allowed to sail through our waters with total disregard. Only now are the Spanish, French and Portuguese navies turning away vessels which they believe are a risk. And you can safely say that it is only a token measure while the media is watching and in three months it will be forgotten. Galicia is slowly being devastated by what is a terrible accident caused by the bad storms. Why was the vessel allowed to put to sea when there were severe storm warnings? The list is endless. Let's have the same laws of the land applied to the sea otherwise it is just a matter of time before there is a new accident which will cause yet more devastation.

Jason Moore


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