Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Explosion on the High Seas

There’s been a huge explosion on an ethanol tanker.

A tanker carrying 3.5 million gallons of industrial ethanol exploded and sank about 50 miles off the Virginia coast Saturday, the Coast Guard said. At least three of the 27 crew members died and most of the others were missing.

Two people died among the eight transported by helicopter to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, spokeswoman Vicky Gray said. The other six men were being evaluated, she said.

Toni Keiser, a spokeswoman for Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md., said a dead man from the tanker was brought to the hospital, and that two rescue divers were treated and released there for minor injuries.

The Bow Mariner, a 570-foot tanker flying a Singapore flag, made an emergency call just after 6 p.m., saying there had been an explosion on board, said Petty Officer Stacey Pardini of the Coast Guard Atlantic area in Portsmouth, Va. The ship had been headed to Houston from New York.

The explosion occurred about 50 miles east of Chincoteague, Va., after a fire started on the deck of the ship, said Lt. Chris Shaffer of Ocean City (Md.) Emergency Services.

Any chance of terrorism?

“We have no indication that this was anything other than an accident at this point,” Moss said, adding that he didn’t know what caused the explosion.

This is one of these incidents like the California wildfires that are most likely not terrorism, but could very well turn out to be so at some point in the future.  Which is a more likely scenario, that terrorists are going to try and pull off a ridiculously complex and difficult stunt involving planes and/or US government targets, or they’re going to attack us where we’re most vulnerable?  And where we are vulnerable is in our millions and millions of acres of unprotected forest, or our tanker fleet.  A small boat filled with explosives blew a hole in the USS Cole, and that was a US Navy ship.  How difficult could it be to pull off the same type of thing against an unprotected merchant ship?  According to one study, not all that difficult.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 12:26 AM in Etcetera • Permalink

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