Oil Spill What is Oil Spill?

An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is usually applied to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters, but spills may also occur on land. Oil spills may be due to releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products (such as gasoline, diesel) and their by-products, heavier fuels used by large ships such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil. An oil spill is a catastrophic event in the environment. It can negatively affect both plants and wildlife, while causing human suffering and economic losses. Oil spills happen when people make mistakes or are careless and cause an oil tanker to leak oil into the ocean. There are a few more ways an oil spill can occur. Equipment breaking down may cause an oil spill. If the equipment breaks down, the tanker may get stuck on shallow land. When they start to drive the tanker again, they can put a hole in the tanker causing it to leak oil. When countries are at war, one country may decide to dump gallons of oil into the other country’s o ceans. Terrorists may cause an oil spill because they will dump oil into a country’s ocean. Many terrorists will do this because they are trying to get the country’s attention, or they are trying to make a point to a country. Illegal dumpers are people that will dump crude oil into the oceans because they do not want to spend money on decomposing their waste oil. Because they won’t spend money on breaking up the oil (decomposing it) they will dump oil into the oceans, which is illegal. Natural disasters (like hurricanes) may cause an oil spill, too. If a hurricane was a couple of miles away, the winds from the hurricane could cause the oil tanker to flip over, pouring oil out.

Environmental Effects of Oil Spills Effects on birds: The birds most affected by oil spills and petroleum contamination are those that spend a majority of their time at sea or near the water, such as gulls, ducks, pelicans, auks, grebes, terns and loons. If the oil reaches shore, however, all types of shorebirds may be affected, as well as migratory songbirds that use polluted habitats as critical migration stopovers. Birds that feed from polluted areas, such as fish-hunting eagles and ospreys, can also feel the disastrous effects of oil spills. (In short, no bird species are entirely unaffected by this type of toxic pollution.)  An area subjected to a large oil spill become uninhabitable for the birds. Since oil contains toxic poisons, oil that coats the nesting areas destroys its critical habitat. Over time, small amounts of oil in the birds' ecosystem can be absorbed into food supplies, gradually building to deadly concentrations in birds that eat that food, whether it is plant life, insects, fish or other food sources.  If birds are already nesting at the time of the pollution, oil that coats the eggs will be responsible for its suffocation, decimating the birds' population. If eggs have not been laid but female adults ingest the oil, the pollution can cause thinner shells that are more subject to being crushed and causing malformed chicks that will not survive.

lungs. they may ingest the oil coating their feathers. liver. preventing it from foraging or escaping from predators. or hyperthermia.  Oil can impair a bird's ability to fly. take some time to recover. changes in heart and respiration rates. The fortunate ones are taken in by concerned citizens or capture crews. enlarged livers.  When exposed to oil. which results in overheating. reducing its insulating ability. which will then poison their kidneys. and making them more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations. irritating the digestive tract. it causes them to mat and separate. impairing waterproofing and exposing the animal's sensitive skin to extremes in temperature. and reproduction impairment. and causing kidney damage. Fish populations moving back into an area following a spill may however. their excessive preening in a desperate attempt to realign their feathers and get clean again will cost them more energy than they can spare. causing slow and agonizing death. and many oiled birds eventually succumb to exhaustion. These compounds are difficult to dissolve in water. dehydration or starvation. intestines and other internal organs. Many oil-soaked birds lose their buoyancy and beach themselves in their attempt to escape the cold water. If they do not die from the oil's toxicity.  Oiled birds also lose their natural buoyancy from air pockets created by proper feather alignment. In order to remove the oil from their feathers. When oil sticks to a bird's feathers. adult fish may experience reduced growth. .  Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in crude oil affect eggs and larvae of fish and increase mortality. larvae.  When birds preen. meaning the bird becomes cold. and they can sink and drown in polluted waters. Oil also disperses in water. This can result in hypothermia. Oil penetrates into the structure of the plumage of birds. and juvenile stages they may eat contaminated food  Large oil spills can kill fish directly by suffocation and can also destroy the surrounding environment where fish lay eggs and young fish develop. they inadvertently ingest the toxic sludge. Crude oil contains many compounds that are toxic to animals including fish. even desperately. As they preen. and the compounds dissolve easily into their tissues through contact with the skin and gills.  Direct exposure to crude oil causes a coagulated mucous film to cover the body and gills. and chemicals in the oil are absorbed by fish and can cause death.  Some birds exposed to petroleum also experience changes in their hormonal balance. oiled birds will begin to preen excessively. Fish are particularly susceptible to absorbing these compounds because they naturally have a high oil or fat content. Wild fish in open waters are likely to swim away from oil spills and long-term effects on local populations are usually avoided. fin erosion. Effects on Fish: Fish may be exposed to spilled oil in different ways: they may come into direct contact and contaminate their gills the water column may contain toxic and volatile components of oil that may be absorbed by their eggs. altering liver function. but wave action and large amounts of crude oil will cause the compounds to be present at toxic levels.

but the spill can kill sea life. sunlight. A large die-off can increase bacteria levels and lower the pH of a body of water.Schools of fish may either avoid or be attracted to oil spills. oil floats on the surface of the water and blocks out the sunlight.where most of the work of photosynthesis occurs -. Effects on Plants:  Blocked Sunlight Photosynthesis uses solar radiation to convert water and carbon dioxide into essential nutrients that sustain plant life. if done properly. However. Clean Up  Bioremediation: use of microorganisms or biological agents to break down or remove oil.  Dispersants can be used to dissipate oil slicks.  Controlled burning can effectively reduce the amount of oil in water. They will cause the oil slick to break up and form water-soluble micelles that are rapidly diluted. which can be attractive to fish looking to hide from predators. to improve the separation of particles and to prevent settling or clumping. Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and acid-producing bacteria are anaerobic.  Skimming .An oil skimmer is a machine that separates a liquid from particles floating on it or from another liquid. But it can only be done in low wind. Spilled oil may also directly coat the leaves of plants -. The oil is then effectively spread throughout a larger volume of water than the surface from where the oil was dispersed. which in many cases causes them to avoid it. They may rapidly disperse large amounts of certain oil types from the sea surface by transferring it into the water column. while general aerobic bacteria (GAB) are aerobic. and their biomass will tend to replace other populations in the food chain. plants and algae need reliable access to water. from reaching the plants within the body of water. usually a colloid. Fish are extremely sensitive to water conditions and can sense the taint of oil in water. They can also delay the formation of persistent oil-in-water emulsions. Not only does the presence of oil directly poison the water.  Dredging is used for oils dispersed with detergents and other oils denser than water. essentially halting photosynthesis. A dispersant is either a non-surface active polymer or a surface-active substance added to a suspension. There are three kinds of oil-consuming bacteria. Therefore. and can cause air pollution. plants lack the energy needed to undergo photosynthesis. blocking one of these fundamental ingredients. As fish congregate under oil spills.  Water Contamination An oil spill can impact photosynthesis by reducing water quality. carbon dioxide and sunlight to undergo this essential process. Without sunlight. creatures that can suffer direct damage from oil more easily. A common application is removing oil floating on water.  Solidifying – Solidifiers are composed of dry hydrophobic polymers that both adsorb and absorb. These bacteria occur naturally and will act to remove oil from an ecosystem. They clean up oil spills by changing the physical state of spilled oil from liquid to a semi-solid or a rubber-like . bird life and other wildlife that uses an aquatic habitat.reducing or blocking out sunlight. The reduction in water quality can stress plants. 2. birds and other predators are also drawn to these places. 1. Spilled oil floats on the surface of the water.

 Vacuum and centrifuge – oil can be sucked up along with the water. Solidifiers are insoluble in water. or burned as a low ash fuel. implying the possibility of overloading [2]Other investigations have claimed that the captain of the ship had no capacity to manage it. Magalona in Negros Occidental. the worst hit would be the shorelines. It has been said that the recent oil spill has now adversely affected marine sanctuaries and mangrove reserves in three out of five municipalities in Guimaras Island and reached the shores of Iloilo and Negros Occidental. This will greatly impact the livelihood of the fishermen. 2006. and then a centrifuge can be used to separate the oil from the water . Background The oil tanker M/T Solar 1.material that floats on water. the Philippines that started on August 11.5 million liters from the sunken tanker. therefore the removal of the solidified oil is easy and the oil will not leach out. said that the damage may be felt by at least two generations. The towns of southern Negros Occidental province prides themselves as the home of the Blue . Siphoning the remaining 1.2 million. Xylene.allowing a tanker to be filled with near pure oil. Methyl Ethyl. carrying more than two million liters of bunker fuel.[4] Dr. recycled as an additive in asphalt or rubber products.000 liters of oil to pour into the strait. a marine sanctuary for feeding and breeding ground for fish and other species. According to reports gathered in the field. Causes Several causes have been mentioned. Jose Ingles. 2006 at the Guimaras Strait off the coast of the Guimaras and Negros Occidental provinces. He warned that the disaster may have damaged the reefs and mangroves. Haribon will be providing assistance to the area particularly for the longterm rehabilitation of the area.[3] The oil slick also posed a threat to the blue crab industry in the municipality of Enrique B. Effects The spill has damaged Taklong Island National Marine Reserve. August 2006) Haribon sent its two biologists to Guimaras to rapidly assess the damage and talk to the affected communities regarding their immediate needs. (NDCC. at a depth of more than 600 meters. Finally. It is the worst oil spill ever in the Philippines. [5] In the south-southeast of the spill site is located the Sulu Sea. Indonesia and Malaysia. eco-region coordinator of the World Wide Fund for Nature in the Philippines. including bad weather and human error. but allowing small amounts of oil to go back as well. According to him. mostly living in poor conditions. was scheduled for March 2007. people have already contracted skin diseases. Acetone and Naphtha. Guimaras oil spill The Guimaras oil spill is a massive oil spill at the Guimaras Strait. a deep water area frequented by commercially valued fishes. Usually. The oil spill occurred in the Visayan Sea which is considered a rich fishing ground that supplies most of the fisheries' demand for the entire country. Allegations have been made stating that the tanker only had a capacity of 1. Some solidifier product manufactures claim the solidified oil can be disposed of in landfills. sank on August 11. making the process more efficient. the water is returned to the sea. Solidifiers have been proven to be relatively non-toxic to aquatic and wild life and have been proven to suppress harmful vapors commonly associated with hydrocarbons such as Benzene. the coasts and the swamplands with mangroves. This issue has hampered the use of centrifuges due to a United States regulation limiting the amount of oil in water returned to the sea. causing some 500. scarring the ecosystem and causing seafood yields to significantly decrease. the government has evacuated the affected families who have already been exposed to the toxic elements of the crude oil. The reaction time for solidification of oil is controlled by the surf area or size of the polymer as well as the viscosity of the oil.

” he said. Ursabia said there would be an investigation as to who would be made accountable for the incident and so that it would not be repeated.[6] Oil spill at La Union cleaned up—Coast Guard 6:00 am | Friday. February 24th. When the slick is not effectively contained. It also threatens 27 communities in Iloilo province and 17 others in Negros Occidental. Chevron should have first checked on the integrity of the pipeline before using it. Chevron reportedly declared to have completed the cleanup operations.m. the Philippine Coast Guard says that the spill has affected 20 communities in 4 municipalities in Guimaras. The quality of the water and the aquatic life in the area. of Wednesday. PCG Northern Luzon District commandant Captain George Ursabia Jr. Chevron was supposed to receive a total of 2. other government agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources would also conduct their own investigation. According to initial reports reaching the PCG headquarters in Manila. prompting them to halt the fuel transfer. As of August 22. which would easily evaporate and disperse. according to Ursabia. told reporters that Coast Guard personnel were deployed to the Poro Point Pier in the provincial capital San Fernando City to monitor efforts by the oil companies involved—Chevron and Shell Philippines—to clean up the spill.” he said. . would be tested. This is an important source of income for the communities. the area was heavily contaminated with oil so they laid down a 400-meter-long boom to contain the oil. 2006. Apart from the PCG. 2012 The spill of some 10. But even if Shell is in charge of maintenance.. The slick from the spill reached 800 meters long and 100 meters wide. it was not that alarming considering the characteristic of the diesel oil and its estimated spilled volume.marlin and the Yellowfin tuna. As of 9 p.m. the Chevron Bulk Plant had been receiving diesel fuel from the motor tanker MT Panglao Island for two hours on Tuesday when operations personnel detected a leak in the pipeline at around 10 a.000 liters of automotive diesel oil into the sea due to a leak in a pipeline in La Union on Tuesday has been contained.000 liters of diesel from the Panglao Island. this will surely damage this thriving local industry. particularly seaweeds and fishes. But the PCG and the city government of San Fernando have yet to assess the situation and determine if indeed the oil spill has been contained to their satisfaction. In the early stages of the anti-spill operation. the Philippine Coast Guard said Thursday. “Chevron is the spiller while Shell is the administrator or in charge of the maintenance of the pipeline. the PCG official added. “It can be postulated that the said oil spill was harmful to the marine environment.

West Indies Gallons: 88. 1991 Location: Kuwait Gallons: 240 to 336 million How It Happened: As Iraqi forces retreated from Kuwait during the first Gulf War. Mexico Gallons: 140 million . 1979 Location: Bay of Campeche. The resulting oil slick spanned an area just larger than the size of the island of Hawaii.3 million Gulf War. Some 240 million gallons of crude oil flowed into the Persian Gulf.Atlantic Empress. they opened the valves of oil wells and pipelines in a bid to slow the onslaught of American troops. Ixtoc 1 Oil Well. 1979 Location: Trinidad and Tobago. The result was the largest oil spill history has seen.