While the dangers associated with shipping of oil through rail and pipe has received a lot of press of late, oil tankers are responsible for some of the largest oil spills in history. Here is a review of three of the most destructive tanker spills. Quantities are measured in tonnes of crude oil with one tonne being roughly equal to 308 US gallons, or 7.33 barrels, or 1165 liters.
1. Odyssey, was an oil tanker that spilled its load of crude oil 700 nmi (1,300 km; 810 mi) off Nova Scotia, Canada on November 10th, 1988. In total it spilled an estimated 132,157 tonnes of oil into the ocean. An explosion caused it to sink and the resulting spill remains one of the largest oil spills in world history.
2. The Exxon Valdez spilled 104,000 tonnes of oil in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters. The Valdez spill was the largest ever in US waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in terms of volume released. The oil eventually covered 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of coastline, and 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) of ocean.
3. The MV Sea Empress was a single-hull oil tanker that ran aground near the southwest coast of Wales on February 15, 1996. A total of 72,000 tonnes of oil where spilled during the course of this incident. The ensuing oil spill affected a considerable area of nearby coastline. Killing birds and soiling beaches.
To see a map of the world’s biggest oil spills click here.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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