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You Really Shouldn't Crash Your Oil Tanker on an Island Where a National Geographic Photographer Is You Really Shouldn't Crash Your Oil Tanker on an Island Where a National Geographic Photographer Is

You Really Shouldn't Crash Your Oil Tanker on an Island Where a National Geographic Photographer Is

by Ben Jervey
March 25, 2011

I really don't mean to make light of an ecological disaster. But can you think of a worse place to wreck an oil tanker than a beautiful, pristine island in the South Atlantic where a National Geographic photographer just happens to be on assignment shooting endangered birds?

Photographer Andrew Evans was "following a lifelong dream" photographing endangered Northern Rockhopper Penguins on the remote Nightingale Islands. He writes,

The remotest set of inhabited islands in the world promised serenity, calm and safety from the ills and pollution that plague other parts of the world. Alas, even those distant problems found their way to these pristine shores in the South Atlantic.

Last week, while Evans was there, the MV Oliva ran aground on Nightingale Island, "spilling its cargo of soybeans and some 800 tons of fuel oil onto the coast." So Evans' assignment turned from one of glorious bird watching to documenting ecological catastrophe. Evans has a slideshow of some truly upsetting photos on his blog, and here's a video he shot of the oil spill's aftermath.

The background, from Evans' description on Youtube:

Nightingale Island, part of the remote Tristan da Cunha group in the South Atlantic, was hit on March 16th, 2011 by the MV Oliva, a freighter carrying soybeans from Brazil to Singapore. Over 800 tons of fuel oil was spilled onto the island's shores, poisoning the local population of endangered northern rockhopper penguins. I arrived on the site on March 23, 2011. This is what I saw.

In related news, this continued the trend of President Obama's god-awful timing with oil announcements. You might remember that Deepwater Horizon tragedy occurred just weeks after the Obama administration announced a huge expansion of offshore drilling. Well this crash happened pretty much right after President Obama promised Brazilian authorities the "technology and support" they needed to develop their oil reserves. “And when you’re ready to start selling," said Obama, "we want to be one of your best customers.” The wrecked cargo ship, of course, was carrying Brazilian oil.

Photo: Screenshot from Andrew Evans' video on Youtube.

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