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What are Oil Spills???

According to Wikipedia
An oilspill is the release
of liquid petroleum hydrocarb
on into the environment,
especially marine areas, due to
human activity.
In simpler terms it is just the
leakage of large amounts of
Oils into water bodies, which
are mostly seas, oceans and
Why do Oil spills happen??
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.

Sources of oil input to the marine environment are often divided
into natural, sea-based and land-based sources.
NATURAL : Natural seeps
SEA-BASED : Operational discharges
Accidental discharges
Air pollution
Accidental oil spills from tankers; other commercial vessels;
grounded and abandoned vessels; oil platforms (blowouts);
Deliberate, operational discharges of oil from all kinds of
commercial vessels (ship- or cargo-related discharges);oil
platforms; pipelines.
Other activities (dumping of oily waste, etc.)

Discharges of untreated or insufficiently treated municipal sewage
and storm water (urban runoff).
Discharges with rivers.
Discharges of untreated or insufficiently treated waste water from
coastal industries.
Accidental or operational discharges of oil from coastal refineries,
oil storage facilities, oil terminals, and reception facilities.

Other reasons may include:
War between countries
Illegal dumping by MNPs
Natural disasters.

The effects of oil spills
THE TERM OIL describes a broad range
of hydrocarbonbased substances.
This includes substances that are
commonly thought of as oils, such
as crude oil and refined petroleum
products, but it also includes animal
fats, vegetable oils, and other
nonpetroleum oils. Each type of oil
has distinct physical and chemical
properties. These properties affect
the way oil will spread and break
down, the hazard it may pose to
aquatic and human life, and the
likelihood that it will pose a threat
to natural and man-made resources.
On Aquatic Environment:
Aquatic environments are made up
of complex interrelations between
plant and animal species and their
physical environment.
Harm to the physical environment
will often lead to harm for one or
more species in a food chain, this
may lead to disruption of the
entire aquatic ecosystem.
Aquatic animals that generally live
closer to shore, such as turtles,
seals, and dolphins, risk
contamination by oil that washes
onto beaches or by consuming oil-
contaminated prey.
In shallow waters, oil may harm
sea grasses and kelp beds, which
are used for food, shelter, and
nesting sites by many different
On Humans
People's health could be adversely
affected by oils either when inhaling
or touching oil products, or when
eating contaminated sea food.
Valuable fishing and shellfish areas
may be closed for fishing for shorter
or longer periods because of the risks
of the catch being tainted by oil.
Many industries are depending on
clean water, e.g., for cooling purposes
in nuclear, other power plants and
desalination plants. The facilities can
be negatively affected if the risk
getting oil into their water intakes
Boats and gear may be directly
damaged by an oil spill.

The Gulf oil spill is officially the largest accidental spill in
world history.
The worst oil spill in history wasn't an accident it was
deliberate. During the Gulf War, Iraqi forces attempted to
prevent American soldiers from landing by opening valves
at an offshore oil terminal and dumping oil from tankers.
The result was the largest oil spill history has seen. Some
240 million gallons of crude oil flowed into the Persian
The resulting oil slick spanned an area just larger than the
size of the island of Hawaii and had a 4- inch thick oil slick.

Coalition forces managed to seal off some of the open
pipelines , but most recovery efforts had to wait until after the
At that point 25 miles of booms and 21 skimmers were
deployed in the gulf, mostly to protect the water intakes of
desalinization, industry and power plants.
About 58.8 million gallons of oil was recovered from the gulf.
The largest oil spill the world has seen exacted little
permanent damage on coral ecosystems and local fisheries,
according to a report by UNESCO.
The study concluded that about half the oil evaporated, one-
eighth of it was recovered and another quarter washed
ashore, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

Exxon Valdez

On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez, en route from
Valdez, Alaska to Los Angeles, California, ran aground on
Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
The vessel was traveling outside normal shipping lanes in
an attempt to avoid ice. Within six hours of the grounding,
the Exxon Valdez spilled approximately 10.9 million gallons
of its 53 million gallon cargo of Prudhoe Bay crude oil.
Even though in terms of sheer volume it is the 36
but its environmental impact were just the opposite.
Its estimated 250,000 seabirds, died along with billions of
salmon and herring eggs.
Eight of the eleven tanks on board were damaged. The oil
would eventually impact over 1,100 miles of non-
continuous coastline in Alaska, making the Exxon Valdez the
largest oil spill to date in U.S. waters.

The response to the Exxon Valdez involved more personnel
and equipment over a longer period of time than did any
other spill.
At the height of the response, more than 11,000 personnel,
1,400 vessels and 85 aircraft were involved in the cleanup.
Shoreline cleanup began in April of 1989 and continued until
September of 1989 for the first year of the response.
The response effort continued in 1990 and 1991 with cleanup
in the summer months, and limited shoreline monitoring in
the winter months.
Fate and effects monitoring by state and Federal agencies are

(Million Gallons)
The Torrey Canyon Oil Spill March 18,
Scilly Isles, UK 25-36
The Sea Star Oil Spill Dec. 19, 1972 Gulf of Oman 35.3
Odyssey Oil Spill Nov. 10, 1988 Nova Scotia, Canada
M/T Haven Tanker Oil Spill April 11, 1991 Genoa, Italy 45
ABT Summer Oil Spill May 28, 1991 Angola

Amoco Cadiz Oil Spill March 16, 1978 Portsall, France 69
Castillo de Bellver Oil Spill Aug. 6, 1983 South Africa 79
Nowruz Oil Field Spill Feb. 10, 1983 Persian Gulf, Iran 80
Kolva River Oil Spill Aug. 6, 1983 Kolva River, Russia 84
Atlantic Empress Oil Spill July 19, 1979 Trinidad and Tobago 90
Ixtoc 1 Oil Spill June 3, 1979 Mexico 140