An in-depth look at how changes in the practices of today's shipowners have caused the current spate of marine disasters. Previous books by Richard Cahill include "Collisions and Their Causes" and "Strandings and Their Causes".
The last few years have seen an unprecedented rush of peace time marine disasters - The Torrey Canyon, The Amoco Cadiz, The Herald of Free Enterprise and The Exxon Valdez. Richard Cahill gives an account of how and why these and other disasters at sea occurred. Twenty years ago, Britain was the number one maritime nation. Now the merchant navy is being run down and Britain, like the other traditional maritime countries, is giving way to "flag of convenience" countries such as Liberia. The traditional shipping lines such as Cunard, with their decades of expertise and an interest in the long term development of the industry, are giving way, too, to seafaring cowboys who cut costs by employing underqualified and inexperienced captains and crews. The results in terms of human life and damage to the environment are catastrophic.