The Governor of Puerto Rico

January 30, 1998

The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

In 1995 and again in 1996, I had occasion to contact the U.S. Department of State concerning the imminent prospect that maritime cargoes consisting of extremely hazardous nuclear waste would be crossing the Caribbean sea. Both times, fortunately, the shipments in question were diverted elsewhere (around Africa in one instance; around South America in the other).

I communicate with you today because the threat posed by such shipments has arisen anew, and because the scenario now confronting our region is even more immediately alarming than those which prompted my previous correspondence on this subject.

The freighter Pacific Swan -- which departed France on January 21, 1998, bound for Japan -- has entered Caribbean waters en route to the Panama Canal. Sometime this weekend, that vessel is expected to transit the Mona Passage that separates the islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. Reportedly aboard the Pacific Swan are at least 60 tons of nuclear waste material.

On behalf of the 3.8-million United States citizens of Puerto Rico, I take this opportunity to join our Caribbean neighbors in urging that you monitor this shipment closely to guarantee its secure transit through the Mona Passage and that you take steps to ensure that the risk of radioactive contamination is reduced to an absolute minimum through the rigorous application of United States-Euratom Agreement safety measures pertaining to "irradiated nuclear material."

Thank you in advance for addressing this perilous situation at once.


Pedro Rossello

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