Tarnished Tankers

European officials call the world's oil fleet an international disgrace

ONE BIG OIL SPILL COULD BE A FLUKE. TWO SPILLS, and suspicion rises. Three in a row looks like a dangerous trend. So in the wake of the disastrous trio of tanker accidents off the coasts of Spain, Scotland and Sumatra, E.C. ministers convened an emergency meeting in Brussels. The officials proposed policies to ensure that companies spilling oil pay for the damage, and also agreed on the need to declare environmentally sensitive areas off limits to tankers.

British Transport Secretary John MacGregor called the prevalence of substandard vessels an "international disgrace" -- a statement corroborated, oddly enough, by the oil...

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