Major Oil Spills in Past 100 Years

As one of the largest sources of fuel and lubricant, oil has been integral part of the world economy. But extracting oil has its own perils such as leakage or spills due to natural or man-made accidents. As the usage of oil boomed, it continued to pollute fisheries, foul coastlines and injure wildlife. However, the number of recent oil spills greater than 750 tonnes has reduced significantly over the past 10 years and since 2010, it averages 1.8 per year. During the 1990s, there were 1,134,000 tonnes of oil loss due to 358 oil spills in ten incidents.

To know more about the oil spills, take a look at the extremely distressing oil spill accidents to post 1920 which had led to far-reaching effects and still continue to haunt major industries.

oil spill

1. Gulf war oil spill

The world’s second-largest oil spill, the Gulf War oil spill happened during a war in 1991.  At the time of this war, millions of gallons of oil were spilled into the Persian Gulf. Initially, the armed forces of America were accused of deliberately creating this spill. However, later it concluded that it was the Iraqi forces that were behind it.

In an attempt to impede US troops from initiating beach landings, Iraq opened the valves of pipelines and released oil from thousands of tankers. With over 240 million gallons of oil spilled across 60 miles, it is believed to be the worst disaster in history.

2. Atlantic Empress

During a Rainstorm, there was a collision of two fully loaded crude carriers in 1979. While heading for the Caribbean Sea, the Aegean Captain and the Atlantic Empress started to leak oil after the severe incident. With over 88.3 million gallons of oil spill had resulted in both the carriers. Surprisingly, no significant pollution managed to reach the shores of nearby islands. Moreover, the Atlantic Empress burned for two weeks and finally sank on August 3, 1979.

3. Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon happened in 2010. It occurred by the explosion across the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Over 210 million gallons of oil was wasted and spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. Despite influencing thousands of marine life, people were killed due to the severe explosion. This oil spill is expected to have the largest mortality rate on record.

As per the survey conducted in 2014, over 65,000 turtles and 800,000 birds were found dead. It also caused BP more than 68 billion dollars along with pay-outs for compensation.

4. Castillo de Bellver

In 1983, a fire abroad the oil carrier named Castillo de Bellver was responsible for the carrier capsizing.  The fire exploded across the border of South Africa. The tanker drifted and split into two pieces causing 79 million gallons of oil leakage and sank later in the sea.

Oil Spills Impacting Nature Earth

Oil spill disasters have been one of the significant concerns of marine life for quite a long time now. They are commercial and environmental catastrophes.  In case of accidents such as oil spills, the sea water gets contaminated by oil, causing damages to the environment for prolonged time. The oil spills effects also disturbed forest, the life of sea animals, birds etc.

Nowadays, several efforts have been made to stop major oil spills with the technologies, but still it’s imperative to adapt changes in terms of manufacturing of oil carrier, transportation and much more.  These small advancements changes could bring a huge change and stop wastage of oil to some extent.

oil on swan due to oil spill

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