1. A seaquake with the strength of 9.0 on the Richter scale and the resulting flood wave (tsunami) has caused disastrous damage to people, their livelihoods and their natural environments in South and Southeast Asia. One of the reasons for the high degree of damage has been the clearing of the natural mangrovia protection forests and the dense population along the coastal line due to tourism. The World Conservation Union (IUCN, http://www.iucn.org) demands following ecological guidelines in future development plans.

  2. The Malaysian freighter "Selendang Ayu" went aground and broke in two parts near the Aleutian Islands. It carried approximately 424,000 gallons of Intermediate Fuel Oil (IFO 380) and 18,000 gallons of Marine Diesel. The salvage work was hindered by winter storms and by the bad state of the wreck. The midsection fuel tank ruptured when the vessel broke apart and released an estimated 40,131 gallons of IFO 380. The complete amount of oilspill remains unknown. The region of the North Pacific and the Bering Sea is the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the habitat of endangered seabirds, sea lions, seals, sea otters, and walruses. Only 15 years ago the Exxon Valdez went aground near by and caused irreversible damages.

  3. Extraction of fuel oil from the shipwrecked Prestige - lying at a depth of 4,000 metres just off the Galician coast - is almost finished. The Prestige split apart in a storm off the Galicia coast Nov. 19, 2002, disgorging most of its 77,000 tonnes of thick, toxic fuel oil onto the beaches of northern Spain and southwestern France in what was Spain's worst environmental disaster. Nearly 1,500 tonnes of oil remain inside the two pieces of the ship. Thousends of tonnes have spread over the sea surface.