LAST CALL: Slick PR places oil spill in better light

In Ecuador, where officials are scrambling to put a positive spin on a recent oil spill in the Gala-pagos Islands, government work is an even more precarious occupation than being a dot-commer these days. For example, the country's current president, the fifth in as many years, recently complained that sacking presidents was the national sport.

So when the oil spill threatened not only the habitats of several species unique to the Galapagos, but also Ecuador's crucial tourism industry, calls for official resignations abounded.

But Ecaudorian bureaucrats must have been heartened by the words of US Coast Guard salvage chief Ed Stanton, who told the LA Times last week that the remains of the tanker would, in time, be transformed from eyesore to flourishing artificial reef. 'Seals will start living on it, birds will begin perching on it. It has already attracted fish,' Stanton told the Times. 'It will become a terrific place to dive.'

Slick move, chief. And should you ever tire of the Coast Guard, we're sure there's a vacancy with your name on it in the communications department of the Ecuadorian Tourism Ministry.





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