"I spent most of that day watching [sea] birds ... The vast sweep of sky and water surrounding [the freighter in the North Atlantic] seemed relatively empty. I mentioned this to van Zwol [the ship's captain] at supper. 'Not long after the war started their number began falling. I didn't give it much heed until one day in 1942 ... after a U-boat pack had caught a convoy [just east of Newfoundland]. The water looked as smooth as cream though there was a good sea running. But it wasn't cream - it was bunker oil. All the way to the horizon. And it was lumpy with dead and dying birds coated with oil. ... tankers laden ... with crude and refined oil were doing down every day all over the world. Men were being lost by the hundreds, but until then I'd never given a thought to what else was being lost. Millions of birds. Tens of millions maybe, killed by oil.'" (p. 156-7)

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