Watership Down

| March 14, 2003

Seven astronauts perished on the Columbia and the media called into question the safety of NASA?s space program. Cargo ships around the world have been sinking at a rate of one per month for the last 20 years, costing 13,600 lives, yet the media doesn?t notice, writes Stan Cox in an AlterNet commentary. If he hadn?t lost his own brother-in-law in a bulk carrier crash, Cox wouldn?t have known of these tragedies involving ships that are simply too old and unsafe to sail. Although the International Maritime Union oversees high-sea safety, this UN agency has no jurisdiction to establish and enforce industry standards. As a result, regulations are set by individual nations, leaving ship owners ?to shop around? for the most lenient host country in which to register their boats. The solution is simple, says Cox: age and weight restrictions and few new safety systems. Sadly, most companies won?t comply because the cost affects their bottom line.
?Erin Ferdinand

Go there>>http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15237