Kudos to Marc Lawrence of Fairfield Industries for sharing this tidbit! It seems that an expedition team that set out from Plymouth, England, on a 5,000-mile (8,000-km) “carbon emission-free” voyage to Greenland had to be rescued by none other than an oil tanker. God this is choice. The BBC reports that the crew of the Fleur was rescued by the Overseas Yellowstone in strong winds after the crew sent a mayday because they feared for their safety. The team, according to the report, planned to use sail, solar, and man power to propel the vessel. The expedition was being followed by as many as 40 schools across the UK “to promote climate change awareness.” The grandiose plan lost its footing after ferocious winds caused the boat to be temporarily capsized three times. At one point one of the crew hit his head, and the wind generator and solar panels were torn from the ship. Another crew member fell overboard during the rescue, while water was entering the boat due to breaking waves. The mayday came as the crew were still 400 miles (644 km) off the west coast of Ireland. Perhaps even more amusing than this ironic rescue is the flurry of comments that accompanied the BBC report. A few of the better ones: “The irony here is making my week. First ‘clean energy’ is a flop, and then to add insult to injury, they have to be rescued by an OIL TANKER!” “The only thing that would’ve made this story even funnier is if a whaling boat had to help.” And my personal favorite: “If those three guys were truly dedicated, they would have refused to be rescued by that filthy tanker. Give their lives for their ‘noble’ cause.” OK, so I’m glad they are safe and no lives were lost. Still, it makes you wonder how the eco movement can be so critical of the oil and gas industry’s “accidents” at sea when millions of barrels of black sticky stuff get moved around the world’s oceans on a regular basis without their crews requiring risky rescues. Yes, the boats are bigger. But the crews are also highly trained, and the vessels have redundant systems in place if something fails. I’m not sure sail, solar, and man power quite meet the criterion of a “redundant system.” OTC thrives despite challenges This just in: “Attendance at the 2009 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) reached 66,820 strong despite a global economic recession and initial concerns about swine flu,” according to a report from event planners. Had I written this missive I might have referred to “swarms” and “teeming masses,” but this pretty well covers it. It takes more than an economic meltdown and a pandemic to keep this industry away.