The Braer Disaster (Intro)
The Braer Disaster
In 1993, the Shetland Islands got off lightly from the Braer spill, as most of the oil was swept out to sea - but we can't rely on fate alone to get us off the hook next time.
Convener of the Scottish Environment LINK Marine Task Force.
Nevertheless, the wreckage of the Braer marks the worst environmental disaster that happened around the Scottish coast. Although less than one per cent of the Braer's load was washed ashore, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and various bird species on the open sea were all affected by the spill. Inshore fishery was suspended for several weeks and salmon farms suffered badly from oil concentrations up to 20,000 times higher than normal.
On land some people suffered from the stenching smell of the evaporated hydrocarbons, the harvests were of the land were lost and freshwater lochs were contaminated by oily spray in the area close to the site of the wreckage, and some roofs were damaged by sprayed dispersants.
With regard to the 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 breeding populations of the resident seabirds.
Looking back some folks remember the wreckage as an episode which lasted with all its consequences for a couple of weeks but in fact the restrictions on fishing and harvesting in the designated area and the landing, marketing and sale in Scotland of mussels and lobsters from the designated area were lifted on 5 May by the Scottish Health Ministers followed by an announcement of the Food Standards Agency that from 00:01 hours 17 May 2000 there are no longer any restrictions on fishing in or around the Shetland Islands after the MV Braer oil spill incident – about seven and a half year after the accident.
For more detailed information see the following Shetlopedia pages:
- An Eyewitness Account
- Technical Information about the Braer
- The last Hours of the Braer
- The Oil Spill
- Additional Pics (not used on single pages)
More pages about different aspects may be added later.
- Report of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch
The Report covers all actions until the wreckage at Garths Ness.
- Shetland Bird Club - report
Detailed report about the impacts of the oil spill on birds, mammals and other aspects of the natural environment
- Court of Session, Opinion of Lord Gill in the cases of "Christopher Andrew Anderson et al. …" (14 February 2001) and their claims of damages to their roofs.
- Report of the Ecological Steering Group on the Oil Spill in Shetland (ESGOSS), The Environmental Impact of the Wreck of the Braer (Scottish Office, 1994)