The UK Overseas Conservation Forum has published an excellent article on the wreck of the Oliva. It starts on page 12 of "Forum News 41":
A small excerpt:
"Dr Ross Wanless of Birdlife South Africa, who called the outcome "an
unmitigated disaster", criticised insurers for delay in sending bird experts to join the clean-up. Cape Town in South Africa, the nearest port to Tristan, is the world's leading centre for cleaning oiled penguins and has achieved high rates of survival. However, timing is crucial. An expert has commented that the unnecessary deaths of thousands of penguins seems to have been caused by the inability of the SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) team and their equipment to get to the islands, which seems in turn to have been caused by a lack of oil-spill planning by the FCO, a lack of cooperation by the insurer and a failure of leadership by FCO personnel. Another expert commented that FCO chose to shift the blame on the distance between Cape Town and Tristan. However, there has been little change in this distance in recent years, so that should not have affected planning."
Planning and preparedness for the next marine disaster or oil spill is shrouded in secrecy. Has anything really changed? Is this the best we can do for this small community and their little islands?
Thanks to Dr. Wanless, the excellent work of South Atlantic reporter Simon Pipe, and the authorities in Malta, we know much about what happened and have some information about why. The FCO distracted us with information about the penguins and seem to have promoted most of those who were involved. They continue to protect Captain Lazaros Kokkonis and conceal other information. How this benefits the islanders is unclear.