Letters / Abiding memories

Thanks for your excellent coverage and witnesses’ statements for this event of 20 years ago (Braer – 20 years on…could it happen again?; SN 4/1/13).

Shetland Amenity Trust’s Woodlands Team volunteered to help in wildlife recovery the day after the Braer ran aground. We were dispatched to Burra.

The most abiding memories I have of this are:


· sheep wandering blind because of oil spray near Bannamin Beach;
· rescuing an oiled guillemot from a brown sea;
· the smell of oil at Tresta, where I live, more than 20 miles from Garths Ness – I still get flashbacks of this;
· the incredible power of the sea and the wind, which, apart from swiftly wrecking a stricken ship, dispersed this Guinness-like soup and foam in a few days;
· a very well co-ordinated response to the emergency from the local authority, government and voluntary agencies, and many groups and individuals.

We were also lucky. I sincerely hope that nothing like it will ever happen again, here or elsewhere.

We are so dependent on oil, nothing should be spared to protect our world and its people, flora and fauna, from its ill and human generated effects, whether they be war, exploitation, or pollution.

James Mackenzie
The Lea