The disturbing story of the running aground of an oil tanker a quarter of a mile in length on the French coast, and the epic natural disaster resultant. The descriptions of the personalities and events which led up to the fateful evening in 1978 are meticulously recorded here in a tale of human misunderstanding, bumbling, the international oil business, heroism and plain old-fashioned greed. In 1978, a gigantic tanker with state-of-the-art navigation equipment and luxury accommodations for its crew ran afoul of gale-force winds and high seas. The arrival of the tug Pacific could not save the Amoco Cadiz. While the captains of the two ships argued over salvage rights, telexes and phone calls went back and forth to head offices thousands of miles away. The young tanker captain was doomed to be second-guessed in the investigations and trial that followed. However, the graphic descriptions of a ship without steering, oil leaking everywhere and bureaucratic indecision make it difficult to blame him. Design and maintenance problems were partly to blame, but the real villain was greed. The damage to Brittany's coast will not be undone until well into the next century. Some brave and colorful characters bring a certain decency to this grim tale. Ironically, they, like the tanker captain, are in the end not as important as money--the driving force in this epic. Against a panorama of brave men against the sea, Chelminski makes the major legal and moral issues clear. There's also a scary warning that the likelihood of similar disasters occurring remains high.