Sunday, 19 January 2014

Oil Slick – The Prestige

(The 'Prestige' oil tanker spilt its load on 13th November 2002
of the coast of Galicia, Spain)

There would be some prestige
in accountability
or responsibility,
when the sea heaves black poison
in waves upon the shore.

There could be redemption
in repentance,
but not in indifference
as miles of golden sand
are besieged with curdled oil.

There should be sympathy,
but it’s doubtful
and won’t come from the powerful
made rich by black gold, while fishermen
shocked pale, scrape their living clean.

But there is certainly anger
for the gasping cormorant,
tarred and feathered;
and the small crab, black as pitch
lying fossilised in someone’s palm.

© Sue Burley 2002

(A recent news report states that ‘The Prestige’ is still leaking oil
off the north-west coast of Spain, 4 years later- 2006))

13th November 2013- A Spanish court acquitted 3 people blamed for the sinking of The Prestige oil tanker in 2002, finding no-one responsible for one of Europe’s worst environmental  oil disasters.


  1. Yes,it made a deep impression on me at the time.