Salvage Workers Search Shipwrecks for Oil, Oceans and Decades Apart
As a salvage team labors to remove oil from a foundering container ship off New Zealand, workers 6,800 miles (11,000km) away have been exploring the underwater resting place of another shipwreck – one that occurred 70 years ago.
In December of 1941, the S.S. Montebello was one of the largest oil tankers in the world: a steel-hulled, three-masted behemoth stretching 440 feet (134m) and weighing 8,272 tons. She steamed across the seas between Siberia, British Columbia, Hawaii and other Pacific ports transporting oil, and had just taken on 3,089,982 gallons of crude and 104,034 gallons of bunker fuel in Port San Louis, Calif. when six miles from shore she was struck by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine. The S.S. Montebello sank in 900 feet of water – taking her cargo with her. But the incident was kept quiet: the US had just entered WWII and officials didn’t want the public to know enemy forces had attacked so close to the mainland.
“Coal pollution is killing Americans,” said Lynn Ringenberg, MD, of Physicians for Social Responsibility which co-released the analysis. “It is America’s biggest source of toxic air pollution. Air toxics from coal-fired power plants cause cancer, birth defects, and respiratory illness. Just one of those air toxics, mercury, damages the developing brains of fetuses, infants, and small children. It robs our children of healthy neurological development and native intelligence.
The states on the “Toxic 20” list, starting with the worst, are:
8. West Virginia
10. North Carolina
11. South Carolina
19. New Hampshire