The Braer - A Synopsis


The 85,000 tons of oil spilt by the Braer ranks eleventh largest in the table of oil spills in the world (in terms of the amount of oil spilled), just over twice as much as was spilled by the Exxon Valdez, and constitutes the largest ever pollution incident in Scotland. Fortunately, the timing, location and the weather resulted in the rapid dispersion of the oil in the water column. Not only was Shetland's wildlife affected, but public health, agriculture, fisheries and the fish farming industries. Within a short period however (in terms of oil spills), the effects were rapidly reduced. The long term effects on wildlife have proved to be less than was at first feared with the most notable impact on the local (to the spill) breeding populations of the resident seabirds.

It has been said that the wildilife of Shetland got off lightly in January 1993; but the unique circumstances of the Braer are unlikely to be repeated should another major spill occur in Shetland and if that happens the outcome is likely to be completely different.


M.V.Braer, the only part of the ship still visible.
Photo by Shetland Islands Council


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