Regarding your Jan. 20 Other Voices guest column, North Coast No Place for Oil Tankers:
Even in this Internet age the media has enormous power to shape public opinion. One example is the article referenced above with its vivid tale of Hecate Strait, a wasteland of howling winds and mountainous seas, a 20,000-ton ship standing on her nose amid the monstrous waves, and narrow Douglas Channel with strong tidal currents and rapidly deteriorating weather. This impression of the ocean hell through which oil takers would have to navigate has been reinforced by a graveyard list of marine disasters: Titanic, Exxon Valdes, Queen of the North, Costa Concordia. Only missing is Moby Dick chasing tankers steered by Captain Hook.
Undoubtedly, this article has turned some readers into oil tankers opponents, particularly when it is signed by a seemingly independent expert, Roger Sweeny, retired naval commander and a master mariner. But to make his anti-tankers rant more credible, Sweeny fails to tell his readers about his membership in Suzuki Elders, David Suzuki's propaganda organization dedicated to environmental issues.
The fact is that in spite of Sweeny's claims, today's modern double-hull tankers with the most up-to-date navigation equipment on board, satellite-based long-term weather reports, and with not only captains but also local pilots on the bridge and tugboat escort could safely navigate the Douglas Channel and Hecate Strait.
After all, none of Sweeny's disasters would have occurred if those ships would have had been equipped and manned as the tankers will be.
Jerry Sklenar North Vancouver