cover image Superwreck: Amoco Cadiz; The Shipwreck That Had to Happen

Superwreck: Amoco Cadiz; The Shipwreck That Had to Happen

Rudolph Chelminski, Author William Morrow & Company $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06954-4

Recounting the 1978 shipwreck of the supertanker Amoco Cadiz, which polluted the Brittany coast and its most productive fishing grounds, Chelminski ( The French at Table, in an expanded version of his article in Reader's Digest (for which he is a European correspondent), holds American obsession with cost effectiveness largely responsible. Thus, the author surmises, the Cadiz captain, against his better judgment and fearing Standard Oil's disapproval, may have postponed emergency measures, including an SOS call, fatally delaying the salvage tug's rescue operation. In a suspenseful re-creation, Chelminski traces the disaster from the initial failure of the steering gear to the grounding of the ship and a helicopter rescue of the crew. Investigations and a trial revealed what the author considers ""arrogance, expedience, presumption and complacency'' on the part of the several international parties involved, all contributing an incalculable ecological toll as a result of the massive oil spill. Photos not seen by PW. (March 20)