Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011



We here at the DUNER BLOG have a slogan. It's in the upper banner on the homepage, adjacent to the star in light blue letters. Anyhow...for those of you who missed it...our official motto is: "The Duner Blog: Keeping You Informed on Important News Stories You Might Have Missed." And...boy...do we have an obscure news item this week. So unless you live on the REMOTEST island in the world you probably DIDN'T hear about the tragic shipwreck earlier this week, did you?

Just where is the REMOTEST INHABITED ISLAND IN THE WORLD anyhow? If you were like me, you probably guessed the South Pacific. Wrong! It's actually in the South Atlantic Ocean. The island of Tristan Da Cunha gets this noble distinction because the 264 people who live here are the 'most separated town from any other human settlements on earth.' In fact, the closest human settlement to Tristan Da Cunha Island is the city of Cape Town on the southern tip of Africa, some 1,750 miles away. The next closest inhabited land mass is a village in southeastern Brazil. That's 2, 500 miles away. We're talking remote, folks!

As expected, not much happens in the Tristan Da Cunha archipelago. Every once in a while, an occasional AIR SOUTH AFRICA international jet might fly overhead, on the not-very-popular Johannesburg to Rio de Janiero route. And, every once in a while, you'd see would see the M.S. Olivia, an ocean tanker, sail by. It carries soybeans from Brazil around the Cape of Good Hope to the soybean demanding nation of Singapore. And, poor isolated little Tristan Da Cunha would have remained unknown...BUT...last week this ocean freighter crashed smack dab into the center of the island!

The M.S. Olivia is one immense ship. It split in half and unleashed 800 tons of fuel oil into the sea. The poor islands are now drenched in a horrible petroleum-based sludge. (But don't worry, all 22 IDIOT crew members were rescued unharmed!) Now, aside from the 264 British citizens who live in the island chain, there are some very rare animals that are only found here...because it's so darn far away from everything else. Meet the 20,000 endangered ROCK-HOPPER PENGUINS, Tristan Da Cunha's most famous residents. They live farther north than other penguins and as a result live on rocks and not ice. Well, now they're living on oil-soaked rocks and they are dying in droves because it took THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE BIRDS eighteen hours to fly to the distant archipelago!

Residents of the remote island (who, by the way, have only 8 surnames) are of course, furious at the negligence of the ocean freighter. Interestingly enough, it's not the just the penguins they're mad about. Also on board the freighter, along with the 800 tons of fuel oil, the 66,000 tons of soybeans are an untold number of rats. Rodent infestations are rampant on these immense freighters and no one really cares. And of course, there were no rats on the remote island chain prior to the disaster. Residents know their fragile ecosystem would be devastated by rats, who would bring untold disease and destruction to their paradise. But...until the world gets serious about letting ocean liners register in tiny countries like Malta (home of the M.S. Olivia) to escape stricter laws, we will continue to have our oceans full of rat-infested ships with drunk drivers crashing into endangered habitats!

No comments:

Post a Comment