"Minor" Spill is Major for Penguins

Andrew Evans of National Geographic is on a photo expedition to the Tristan da Cunha island group in the South Atlantic. He expected to get beautiful pictures of wildlife and their natural habitat, but fate took another turn. A cargo ship crossing from Brazil to Singapore crashed on the rocks of Nightingale Island, and began to spill the 800 tons of fuel it was carrying.
The captain and all crew escaped the vessel, but by last Saturday the ship had begun to break up in the heavy surf. The oil slick had spread around the island and then out to sea in the direction of Inaccessible Island.

Our ship, the MV National Geographic Explorer arrived at Tristan Da Cunha yesterday and sailed to Nightingale Island this morning, as intended on our original itinerary with Lindblad Expeditions. Instead of mere bird watching, we were met with the disturbing sight of penguins and seals coated in sticky black oil.

Nightingale Island is home to some 20,000 of the endangered sub-species of Northern Rockhopper Penguin. Sadly, these are the birds that were hit the hardest—thousands are expected to die from the effects of the oil spill. While this spill is relatively minor in comparison to so many in the world today, it represents a major calamity for the fragile birdlife on pristine Nightingale Island and a heavy blow to the small group of islanders of nearby Tristan da Cunha.

Although hundreds of the rockhopper penguins were collected to be cleaned, many more hundreds are left covered with oil, along with seal pups and other wildlife. Read Evans' report and see more pictures at National Geographic's Digital Nomad blog. Link -Thanks, Marilyn Terrell!

(Image credit: Andrew Evans/National Geographic)

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The costs of global shipping are not all that high considering the distances covered and the size/running costs of the vessels.

When my wife and I moved from Canada to Australia 8 years ago we moved our entire houseful of furniture down to Australia for less than $8000.00 .. this was furniture for a three bedroom house and all the accessories etc.. our whole life in one container.

It actually cost us more to have two dogs transported down and put through quarantine.
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randi, it wasn't an oil tanker, but a cargo load of soybeans. The oil was just fuel to get it there. A massive amount, to be sure, which just makes you wonder about the hidden costs of global trade.
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