Empirical

Measuring Worth a free service that lets you compare prices from the past.

What does a trillion pounds look like? …

I caught something on the History Channel that mentioned a tanker wrecked at Milford Haven in 1996 cost Sixty Million Pounds to clear up. The oil covered 125 of Britain's 2,500 miles of coastline.

£81,179,048.39 using the retail price index
£78,983,312.20 using the GDP deflator
£94,645,871.27 using the average earnings
£102,837,697.66 using the per capita GDP
£107,807,726.57 using the share of GDP

Measuring Worth

I don't know what other costs may or may not have been included. I imagine the insurance of the vessel and its cargo might be in there too. And since the seas are now less fertile I imagine they are more valuable. They are certainly more stressed.

So going on the above I am going to say that each tanker wreck produces £100,000,000 worth of damage. That's ten tankers per billion. Ten thousand per trillion. (The economy seems set on using US standards, billion is a thousand million it seems.)

So the present situation has cost Iceland twenty one thousand oil tanker wrecks. I hate to think how many Germany or Britain have cost. And as for the USA; not even the USA is willing to think about their losses.

I gather French banks have been better protected. None the less I bet several unscrupulous bandits there too have taken chances. Since stock markets globally are taking a dive, I dare say it will all be conveniently covered.

It is certainly going to be difficult to unravel what went on because what is going on costs money to talk about never mind investigate.

Personally I think the idiot is a walking ship wreck, however I have to admit that he gave a good account of the affair here.

I wonder how many Presidunces you get per Exxon Valdez. What would it cost the economy to rescind the rights of large multi-national companies to use flags of convenience in one way and another, the way they do?

It would take 100 Sea Empresses to cover all of Britain's beaches. Presumable the total coverage would put paid to the two thirds of any species that survived any one location?

But there again you do get economies of scale. Once everyone is doing something like that, overheads come down.

I was wrong when I wrote about economies of scale. The data about the Exxon Valdez indicates that the local economy is badly impacted from a steady state with a pool of cheap labour to damage control with a lack of trained labour.

Local industry suffers and whilst the tourism of a seaside amenity may be buoyed by business from the damage control teams, long term the scene is devastation:

"ExxonMobil paid $300 million immediately and voluntarily to more than 11,000 Alaskans and businesses affected by the Valdez spill. In addition, the company paid $2.2 billion on the cleanup of Prince William Sound, staying with the cleanup from 1989 to 1992, when the State of Alaska and the U.S. Coast Guard declared the cleanup complete.

ExxonMobil hired its own scientists to study the impacts of the spill and they come to different conclusions to many of the results published by government agencies and peer-reviewed academic journals.

Exxon's scientists acknowledge the lingering pockets of oil in the sediments but they argue that they do not pose a serious risk. It is their position that that there are now no species in Prince William Sound in trouble due to the impact of the 1989 oil spill, and that the data strongly support the position of a fully recovered Prince William."

This data?

"The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council published a study in 2004, fifteen years after the oil spill, it is clear that some fish and wildlife species injured by the spill have not fully recovered. It is less clear, however, what role oil plays in the inability of some populations to bounce back.

The Trustee Council recognizes 30 resources or species as injured by the spill in five categories:

Not Recovering
Common loon Cormorants (3 species), Harbor seal, Harlequin duck, Pacific herring, Pigeon guillemot

Recovery unknown
Cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden, Kittlitz’s murrelet, Rockfish Subtidal communities

Recovered
Bald eagle, Black oystercatcher, Common murre, Pink salmon, River otter, Sockeye salmon

Recovering
Clams, Wilderness Areas, Intertidal communities, Killer whale (AB pod), Marbled murrelet, Mussels, Sea otter, Sediments

Human uses
Commercial fishing, Passive use, Recreation and tourism, Subsistence

Prior to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, there was no baseline date available for the abundant number of species existing in Prince William Sound. Because of this lack of data, numbers of oil spill-related casualties and recovery rates have been difficult to determine."

That last emphasises the problem of accepting handouts from crooks. Nowhere in the article was the flag of convenience problem discussed. As it happens, neither the ship owner or the crew are responsible if they don't want to be. The master of the ship was drunk and not on the bridge. The pilot handed over to a third mate who neglected to ensure the pilot's orders were followed when he went off duty.

Exxon paid off in 2001.

It would be nice to think they learned something. Sadly disaster mitigation lies in greasing the right pockets seems to be the only thing learned. I am not getting at the Republican Party. People with pots of money have pools of resources and oceans of power.

They can bend anybody.

This is turning into a tirade against Exxon. The fact is that crude oil is a natural resource and terrible though the consequences for mismanaging it are, it does decompose eventually. It's a pity that greater care is not demanded of wholesalers who float of it close to where it can do so much damage it is nearly impossible to deal with in batches of millions of tons.

Even huge companies have to work against competition. It is the job of governments to ensure they do so with wide safety margins. And these are the people who have failed.

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