Watership Down

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
?Erin Ferdinand

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