Oil Spills

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Oil Spills

Andrew Hoerr

Professor Theodore Chamberlain

Oceanography NRCC 150


There are many things that threaten the world's oceans; too much fishing, global warming, but perhaps the most severe and publicized threat is oil spills. Oil spills happen all over the world from a number of sources. Used motor oil, land drainage, and regular maintenance of ships produce more waste than the major oil spills we often hear of. Before 1967, the world didn't pay much attention to oil waste until there was a major spill of the coast of England. There is still oil waste today from all kinds of different sources, but the world is recognizing it and there has been action taken in the recent decades to combat it.

As was mentioned before, there was not much attention given to oil pollution in the ocean until 1967. In 1967, the supertanker TORREY CANYON ran aground on Pollard Rock off the coast of England.

In this incident a level was left in the wrong position causing the helmsman to lose control of the ship. The captain tried to stop the ship but it was too late, and the supertanker ran into Pollard Rock at a high speed and spilled over 500,000 barrels of oil into the water. This spill polluted the coast of England, Spain, and France making headlines worldwide. Another large oil spill and considered one of the two worst happened in 1979 and did not involve and oil tanker. The IXTOC 1 oil well, located in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, accidentally sunk its drill into an underwater oil reservoir releasing over 140 million gallons of oil into the gulf. In 1991, during the Persian Gulf war, the Iraqi army dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the Persian Gulf off...