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Tony Hayward, BP (BBC)“I don’t believe it should [result in a ban], in the same way as Apollo 13 did not stop the space programme nor have serious airline accidents from time to time stopped people flying.”(Tony Hayward, BP chief executive)

I often wonder how people arrive at their stations in life, and if they belong there. In the case of Mr. Hayward, I would suggest not. Apollo 13 was a tragedy, the Deep Horizon spill is a disaster. To equate the two is to miss the facts that the spill has far reaching consequences for the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico, and for the human economies that rely upon the health of that ecosystem. And while airline accidents have not stopped travel by air, the FCC has proved itself to be far more effective as a regulatory body than have the scoundrels who supposedly regulate the oil industry.

Mr Hayward goes on to say, “…the US was as rigorous as anywhere in the world and such judgements should wait on the full outcome of the investigation into the accident.” That statement in response to President Obama’s expressed outrage at the bumbling responses of the industry to the spill. Apparently Mr. Hayward should also be the president of the United States.

Some words of advice. First, running a giant multi-national with a safety record worthy of a Mr. Bean episode does not qualify your opinion with any sort of expertise. Second, the best thing that could result from this disaster is proper regulation of offshore drilling ( ban it?!). The Apollo programme inspired a species. We’ll see what the current disaster inspires us to do.

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