California: Bad Luck, But Good Behavior

Bad Luck, But Good Behavior

It was apparently just plain bad luck that as the tanker American Trader was unloading off Southern California's Huntington Beach last week, a sudden swell caused an anchor to tear a 3-ft. gash in the ship's forward compartment. Working by night, the crew plugged the hole within four hours, but an estimated 300,000 gal. of crude poured into the Pacific. At week's end the oil slick covered a 30-sq.-mi. area and was starting to foul beaches and wildlife refuges.

The accident gave new impetus to local efforts to require double hulls on all new tankers. But unlike Exxon, whose response to...

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