Giant Plumes of Oil Found Forming Under Gulf of Mexico
Published: May 15, 2010
Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.
( . . . )
“There’s a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water,” said Samantha Joye, a researcher at the University of Georgia who is involved in one of the first scientific missions to gather details about what is happening in the gulf. “There’s a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column.”
The plumes were discovered by scientists from several universities working aboard the research vessel Pelican, which sailed from Cocodrie, La., on May 3 and has gathered extensive samples and information about the disaster in the gulf.
BP has resisted entreaties from scientists that they be allowed to use sophisticated instruments at the ocean floor that would give a far more accurate picture of how much oil is really gushing from the well.
“The answer is no to that,” a BP spokesman, Tom Mueller, said on Saturday. “We’re not going to take any extra efforts now to calculate flow there at this point. It’s not relevant to the response effort, and it might even detract from the response effort.”
The undersea plumes may go a long way toward explaining the discrepancy between the flow estimates, suggesting that much of the oil emerging from the well could be lingering far below the sea surface.
The scientists on the Pelican mission, which is backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency that monitors the health of the oceans, are not certain why that would be. They say they suspect the heavy use of chemical dispersants, which BP has injected into the stream of oil emerging from the well, may have broken the oil up into droplets too small to rise rapidly.
BP said Saturday at a briefing in Robert, La., that it had resumed undersea application of dispersants, after winning Environmental Protection Agency approval the day before.
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Gulf Spill: Readers’ Reports
Where have you seen the impact of the spill?
As the oil spill reaches land, we would like your updates and photographs of what you’re seeing. Photos are optional but recommended.
(the call above for reports from the oil spill and its affected areas is from the NY Times – click on the link above, my note)
BP p.l.c. (BP) is an international oil and gas company. The Company operates in more than 80 countries, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products.
The Company operates two segments: Exploration and Production, and Refining and Marketing. Exploration and Production’s activities cover three key areas. Upstream activities include oil and natural gas exploration, field development and production.
Midstream activities include pipeline, transportation and processing activities related to its upstream activities.
Marketing and trading activities include the marketing and trading of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), together with power and natural gas liquids (NGLs).
Refining and Marketing’s activities include the supply and trading, refining, manufacturing, marketing and transportation of crude oil, petroleum and petrochemicals products and related services.
1 St. James’s Square SW1Y 4PD London ENG SW1Y 4PD United Kingdom
Phone: +1 (800) 638-5672
Fax: +1 (312) 856-4883
(there is a chart of the change in stock share prices on this page indicating the difference from the time of the April 20, 2010 oil rig explosion, my note)
Scientists find vast unreported oil leak from Deepwater Horizon
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After studying video of the gushing oil scientists on board the research vessel Pelican which is gathering samples and information about the spill said it could be flowing at a rate of 25,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil a day, or 3.4 million gallons a day. The flow rate is currently calculated at 5,000 barrels a day.
The vast amounts of oil pouring from the rig which exploded on April 20 killing 11 people is depleting the oxygen in the immediate area, raising fears that the oxygen level could fall so low it would kill off most of the sea life near the plumes. Oxygen levels have already dropped by 30 percent near some of the plumes, increasing the possibility that it would fall so low it would create dead zones around the rig said Dr Joye.
“If you keep those kinds of rates up, you could draw the oxygen down to very low levels that are dangerous to animals in a couple of months,” she said. “That is alarming.”
( . . . )
Technicians using joysticks are operating robotic submersibles that will attempt to place a 6in-wide relief pipe into the remains of a 21in pipe that used to connect the wellhead to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on the surface.
The aim is to use the relief pipe to pump a mix of densely packed items such as golf balls, knotted rope and lumps of plastic into the oil well’s blowout preventer — the giant safety device that failed to work when the Deepwater rig exploded last month.
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- 1967 Oil Embargo
- 1970 world oil market chronology
- 1970-1979 world oil market chronology
- 1970s energy crisis
- 1971 world oil market chronology
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- 1979 energy crisis
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- 1980-1989 world oil market chronology
- 1980s oil glut
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Salazar: Latest effort to stop oil leak hits snag
15 hours ago – The Associated Press
Crisis in the Gulf: Where were the watchdogs?
21 hours ago – CNNMoney
Why is there no safety.gov – especially for oil?
May 14, 2010 – CNNMoney
Oil’s sway in Gulf states may be tempering politicians’ response to spill
( . . . )
But Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said many elected officials in the Gulf states “have very close, cozy ties with the oil and gas industry. That habit is hard to break even when disaster is staring them in the face.”
The calamity illustrates the overwhelming influence of oil on the politics of Louisiana and other Gulf states, in which lawmakers of both parties have generally maintained enthusiastic support for offshore drilling in defense of one of the region’s bedrock industries. In Louisiana, the sector provides more than 300,000 jobs and handles about a quarter of the oil and natural gas consumed in the United States, according to industry estimates.
The oil business strongly favors delegations from key Gulf states in its campaign contributions. Lawmakers from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama received an average of $100,000 from oil and gas companies and their employees in the past three years, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and analyzed by The Washington Post. That compares with $30,000 for lawmakers from other states.
“Expanded drilling is dead on arrival,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), an opponent of offshore drilling. “Now that people see that this can completely disrupt their livelihood, their culture and their way of life, I think you’re going to see attitudes on drilling changing dramatically.”
But it’s not clear whether that applies to states such as Louisiana, where the oil and gas industry has dominated the economy for nearly a century. . . .
Oil & Gas Journal
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Oil & Gas Journal was first published in 1902 and is the world’s most widely read petroleum industry publication. The weekly is aimed at engineers, oil management and executives throughout the oil and gas industry with news, analysis, statistics, and technology updates impotant to the industry. PennWell Petroleum Group publishes the journal along with other titles geared toward the petroleum industry. The group is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the journal has a major presence in Houston, Texas.
As is now well known, the Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 workers. Since then, the rig’s owners, BP, who commissioned the drilling, plus those who manufactured the deepwater technology involved, have been trying, so far without success, to cap or seal the vents from which oil is erupting.
Ending the disaster, which took place at around 5,000 feet below sea level and involved a well being drilled to a depth of around 22,000 feet, is quite literally as difficult as operating on the moon, as the technology required and possible solutions are largely untested. It also involves huge costs and uncertainty and raises challenging political, jurisdictional, environmental and economic questions.
What would happen if such an event should occur in the Caribbean, or there should be some unforeseen accident or incident involving one of the shipments of radioactive waste that regularly passes through the Caribbean?
Implications of oil spills
If as recent indications suggest, oil beneath the Caribbean Sea at depths hitherto unviable or technologically too challenging can be recovered, how will governments balance economic need against the risk?
To illustrate the implications, imagine for a moment what might happen if Jamaica’s north coast or Barbados’s west coast were to see oil wash ashore from a similar high-profile incident.
The reputational damage would be enormous, and while the probability is that actual costs would be borne by whoever caused the event, the negative and less tangible effects would last for years. Under such circumstances, the requirement is to be proactive and respond effectively, as has happened in recent days in Florida, where changing weather conditions and a seasonal phenomenon relating to ocean currents look likely to propel residue from the slick into the Florida mangrove, onto the Florida Keys, and then towards Miami Beach and beyond. There, the administration has decided not to wait but to pre-emptively introduce a state of emergency and establish a campaign to try to reassure tourists and protect its US$65 billion tourism sector.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster raises other questions.
Do all Caribbean nations that are actively encouraging oil exploration have the necessary contingency plans, environmental legislation and the ability to monitor regulatory requirements to ensure that in the event of a crisis or threat they can respond, and that they have done everything necessary to offset the actual and reputational damage that would occur?
( . . . )
Earlier this year, the same platform that is now on the ocean floor identified a vast reserve of oil at great depth beneath the Gulf of Mexico.
There, it found for BP the giant Tiber field containing between four and six billion barrels of oil at a depth of 35,000 feet, beneath 4,100 feet of water, and which present technology can only partially recover. This and other finds in the Caribbean Basin means that irrespective of present problems and protests, oil recovery in the region will continue to gather pace, and extraction will occur at ever-deeper levels and at the limits of technology.
Fuel taxes in the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
As of July 2009, the average state gasoline tax is 28.6 cents per gallon, plus 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax making the total 47 cents per gallon. For diesel, the average state tax is 27 cents per gallon plus an additional 24.4 cents per gallon federal tax making the total 51.4 cents per gallon. As of May 2007, taxes accounted for 20% of the price of gasoline and 21% of the price of diesel.
The first U.S. state tax on fuel was introduced in February 1919 in Oregon. It was a 1 cent per U.S. gallon (0.3¢/L) tax. In the following decade, all of the U.S. states (48 at the time), along with the District of Columbia, introduced a gasoline tax. By 1939, an average tax of 3.8¢/gal (1¢/L) of fuel was levied by the individual states. The fuel tax in Texas is currently set at 20¢/gal since being raised to that amount in 1991. In May 2007, the Texas House of Representatives unanimously voted to pass a ‘gas-tax relief‘ measure for the 2007 summer driving period. The measure was not passed by the state Senate.
|State||Gasoline Tax (includes Federal Tax of 18.4 cpg)||Diesel Tax (includes Federal Tax of 24.4 cpg)|
|District of Columbia||38.4||44.4|
The first federal gasoline tax in the United States was created on June 6, 1932 with the enactment of the Revenue Act of 1932 with a tax of 1 cent/gal (0.3¢/L). The U.S. federal gasoline tax as of 2005[update] was 18.4¢/gal (4.86¢/L), and the gasoline taxes in the various states range from 10 cents to 33 cents, with an average about 22 cents per U.S. gallon (5.8¢/L), making the average combined tax on gasoline 42¢/gal. Unlike most goods in the U.S., the price displayed includes all taxes, rather than being calculated at the point of purchase.
The head of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation stated on 15 August 2007 that about 60% of federal gas taxes are used for highway and bridge construction. The remaining 40% goes to other, unrelated uses. However, revenues from other taxes is also used in federal transportation programs. A 2003 Federation Highway Administration study found that 94% of federal roadway funding came from fuel taxes, 86.3% of state roadway funding came from fuel taxes, and 11.1% of local roadway funding came from fuel taxes.
The study found that altogether in the U.S., 69.6% of roadway funding ($79.6 billion) came from fuel taxes and 30.1% ($33.4 billion) from other funding sources. The other funding sources are most typically general tax revenue.
Aviation fuel taxes
Aviation gasoline (most often used to fuel small General Aviation aircraft) is taxed at 19.4 cents per gallon as of 2007. Legislation is currently pending to raise this tax to 24.2 cents per gallon.
Jet fuel (called “kerosene for aviation” by the IRS) is taxed at 21.9 cents per gallon for the 2007 tax year unless it is used for commercial aviation (i.e. airlines such as American Airlines and US Airways, and small commercial jets commonly chartered by entertainers, politicians, and business VIP’s). Such commercial operations qualify them for a special tax loophole that allows them to pay only 4.4 cents per gallon. A bill has been introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) that would completely eliminate the tax paid by commercial jets, while more than doubling the tax on non commercial jet fuel users to 49 cents per gallon.
These taxes mainly fund airport and Air Traffic Control operations by the FAA, of which commercial aviation is the biggest user.
- ^ a b Motor Fuel Taxes, American Petroleum Institute, 9 July 2009
- ^ US Gov official energy statistics Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update
- ^ Corning, Howard M. Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing, 1956.
- ^ Online NewsHour: Conversation | Peters Discusses Infrastructure | August 15, 2007 | PBS
- ^ Highway Statistics 2002, Federal Highway Administration (www.fhwa.dot.gov), 2003, summarized by Todd Litman, Whose Roads?, Victoria Transport Policy Institute 30 November, 2004, http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf accessed 20 February 2009.
Oil spill? What oil spill?
BP’s nonchalance over Gulf leak tars entire offshore drilling industry
When you watch news reports of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, remember one thing: The hurricanes that regularly plague the Gulf often have enough force to churn up the seabed.
A Category 4 or 5 hurricane at the surface spins and whirls with such magnitude that the ocean floor 2,000 or even 3,000 feet below is sometimes turned over.
What has this to do with the Deepwater Horizons disaster? Plenty.
At the moment, being unable to cap the erupting wellhead a mile below, oil company crews, with the approval of government administrators, are injecting the spreading mess on the surface with dispersant — chemicals designed to break up the enormous, creeping black blot that threatens the Gulf’s freshwater deltas and saltwater marshes.
But dispersants are little more than a cosmetic coverup. They may even do more harm than good by masking the extent of the environmental catastrophe and breaking the oil up into smaller parcels that will be harder to clean up.
What’s more, the dispersant may increase the formation of tar balls, globs of heavy, gooey black oil that often sink to the sea floor only to be carried to shore on currents and tides — a few here, a few hundred there.
That’s where the hurricanes come in.
If British Petroleum (BP) and its partners, coupled with the U.S. Department of the Interior, inject enough dispersant and create enough tar balls, these tacky ecological time bombs will keep being torn up from the ocean bed and brought to shore for decades and decades.
Just when Americans are certain the legacy of this tragedy has passed, another hurricane will come along and pick up scores of these viscous reminders of the Deepwater disaster and deposit them on some shore birds’ nesting grounds or fragile oyster bed or sea life spawning zone.
BP’s attitude has appalled even a diehard free-marketer such as me.
First, it seemed to say “Oil spill? What oil spill?” Then when the slick could no longer be ignored, its attitude became one of nonchalance: “Don’t worry. It’s only a small leak.”
To this day, neither the company nor the U.S. Department of the Interior seems prepared to admit the true extent of the disaster. Both are insisting that no more than 5,000 barrels a day are gushing from the broken well (after having insisted, disingenuously, for two weeks that it was only 1,000).
Meanwhile, independent engineers viewing the speed of the flow estimate the true rate at 20,000 to 70,000 barrels daily.
(The upper estimate would create an Exxon Valdez every four days.)
Indeed, BP’s attitude seems still to be one of unconcern. They still seem to be saying it’s no big deal. Even if it is a big deal, it’s not our fault. Besides, what are you going to do, sue us? Government regulations limit the extent of our financial liability.
A story in Friday’s Miami Herald claims BP employees had described the well as “troublesome” in the weeks leading up to the explosion in late April.
Unscheduled gas penetrations had occurred and three times during the course of the rig’s final day there had been “sudden loud noises as bursts of pressure had been released.” Pressure tests had shown a “disturbing imbalance.” Nonetheless, BP pushed ahead.
Instrumentation in petrochemical industries are basically flowmeters, pressure transmitters, level meters, temperature instruments, and analysis instruments, etc.
The measurement of petrol is conducted in the refinery while refined oil is measured before leaving the refinery. Because the refined oil is volatile, it is important to make it clear that how much oil is transported at each measurement site along the pipeline. It is true for natural gas. Therefore, the measurement of crude oil and natural gas plays an important role in oil industry. The competition in flowmeter market is extremely intense, and the flowmeters generally consist of the vortex, PD, DP, Coriolis and ultrasonic.
According to the statistics of gongkong on users in the petroleum & petrochemical industry, there are 6 brands getting more feedback, among which Emerson is ranked as the top one in such a high-end field of instrument, followed by Yokogawa and Krohne. Additionally, E+H and ABB are also can’t be ignored.
The petroleum & natural gas and petrochemical industries place high requirements on level measurement. Except the instruments of traditional technologies like differential pressure level meters, there are also level meters of radar, magnetostrictive, and magnetic float, etc. applied extensively.
The petroleum and gas industry is an important segment where level meters witness high growth over recent years. As China improves the industrial technologies of extracting and transporting oil, some new high-end level meters will have a wide application in this segment.
The industrial chromatographs are generally used in the olefin processing of petrochemical industry. Every year, usually hundreds of sets are needed in China. However, influenced by the project cycle, it fluctuates greatly. Despite a small number of those being applied, the industrial chromatographs cover a large proportion in the sales volume of analysis instruments because of their high prices. Furthermore, continuous gas analyzers are also widely applied to the petrochemical industry.
The petroleum and gas industry is also an important sector for the growing analysis instruments over the past few years. With the improvement of industrial technologies in oil extraction and transportation in China, some analysis instruments serving to improve the product quality and industrial security are being applied increasingly.
- ^ Lipták, Béla G.. Instrument Engineers’ Handbook: Process measurement and analysis. Taylor & Francis, Inc.. pp. 151 (Chapter 2). ISBN 9780849310836. http://books.google.com/books?id=a05NAvaqfcUC&pg=PA352&dq=petrochemical+flow+meter#v=onepage&q=petrochemical%20flow%20meter&f=false.
The Big Picture section over at Boston.com has a gallery of 40 photos which depict the disaster as it unfolds into an increasingly catastrophic environmental event.
Here are dolphins swimming under a somewhat-dispersed oil sheen on the surface:
(40 pictures in this series – definitely go see them when you get the chance, my note)
“It’s a total replay. I’ve heard BP say, ‘Tell us your legitimate claim and we’ll make it right,’ ” Platt said. “It’s almost exactly what Exxon said to us.”
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground, dumping 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound.
The spill blackened 1,500 miles of Alaska coastline, shut down fisheries, devastated wildlife and threw the residents of Cordova into an economic and psychological turmoil that lingers, in many ways, to this day.
Chief among the chill-inducing similarities mentioned by Cordova residents are the official statements released by BP in the days after the spill.
“Watching BP’s executives, it’s like listening to (former Exxon CEO) Lee Raymond come up here 20 years ago,” said RJ Kopchak, 62, of Cordova. “These handsome, square-jawed, mid-life folks step to the microphone and tell you everything’s going to be fine. … It’s hard to beat those guys.”
Kopchak said there are differences between the Valdez and the Deepwater Horizon spill, but he said the underlying themes that plagued Cordova residents for decades already are surfacing on the Gulf Coast.
“It will all unfold on a different time line because of the nature of the spill, but all of the benchmark problems are going to be the same,” he said.
Cordova is about 45 miles southeast of the Valdez spill site, but the oil never reached the town’s shores. Strong winds in the days after the spill pushed the slick to the west, smearing it across miles of mountainous coastline despite containment efforts.
As on the Gulf Coast, Cordova received an injection of money immediately after the Valdez spill. Exxon hired fishermen and boat owners who were put out of work by the oil spill to assist in cleanup.
But the money was doled out unevenly. One boat owner might be hired to do cleanup at a rate of thousands of dollars a day, while his out-of-work neighbor would get nothing.
(from last page of article)
The hope that legal action will make things right was mirrored by fishermen in Cordova. But it’s a hope that for 20 years remained just out of reach.
Platt said that when he finally got his payment from the Exxon Valdez lawsuit, it barely covered what he paid for his now-worthless commercial herring fishing permit decades ago.
“I waited 20-some years for the end of all this. The whole time it was uncertainty. But I expected the worst and hoped for the best,” he said. “But I kind of think now that I hoped for the best a little too much. It didn’t really happen.”
Picou, who has spent his entire career studying disasters, is quick to point out that much remains uncertain about what the Deepwater Horizon spill’s effects will be on the Gulf.
But every passing day makes one thing more certain, Picou said.
“This is a marathon. The gun has just gone off,” he said. “Unless we have a miracle, this is just the second step in the race.”
Gulf oil spill: Lessons from Alaska
Exxon Valdez spill changed a community and its people forever
Travis Griggs • • May 16, 2010
National Guard troops fan out along Louisiana coast to combat Gulf oil spill
May 16, 2010, 5:43AM
Photos by Rusty Costanza / The Times-PicayuneMembers of the National Guard build a floating pier in the Mississippi River Gulf Coast Outlet at Shell Beach. The 2225 Multi-Role Bridge Company based in Marrero is building a 300-foot-long pier to assist with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
First Sgt. Kevin Giroir directed about 50 soldiers of the 2225th Multi-Role Bridge Company sent to the far reaches of St. Bernard Parish to assemble a 300-foot floating pier near Campo’s Marina in Shell Beach so local fishers could load boom onto their boats and rush it out to marshes.
During the task last week, Giroir urged the troops to be wary of private property and wildlife. He also offered praise. In a series of convoys from Marrero, the soldiers hauled 12 Army work boats and 14 bridge sections without a hitch.
“I want you to know I appreciate the fact that you didn’t wreck anything and got here safely,” Giroir told them.
A full-time Guardsman from Destrehan, Giroir is among 1,100 Louisiana National Guard troops Gov. Bobby Jindal mobilized April 29 to try to protect the state’s fragile coastline from the encroaching oil spill triggered by an oil rig explosion nine days earlier in the Gulf of Mexico.
Troops fanning out along the coast
From installing a 7-mile tiger dam at Southwest Pass in Plaquemines Parish to delivering boom to dropping one-ton bags of sand from UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters in eroded areas of barrier islands in Jefferson and Lafourche parishes, troops are fanning out along the coast as part of the state’s response to the environmental emergency.
But the mobilizations also come at a time when Louisiana’s 11,000-member military force is deployed worldwide. About 3,000 infantrymen are in Iraq, and more troops are leaving in the coming days for Haiti. While the Defense Department approved Jindal’s request last week to mobilize up to 6,000 troops, the governor said “several hundred” soldiers are held in reserve and Maj. Gen. Bennett Landreneau, the state’s adjutant, is prepared to activate more.
“We are ready to do that if that becomes necessary,” Jindal said. “That would likely only become necessary as the oil goes west, as those parishes request troops. For now, we’ve got sufficient manpower for the tasks in front of us.”
First Sgt. Kevin Giroir, left, and Sgt. 1st Class Chris Trenticosta monitor the operation as members of the National Guard begin the process of building a floating pier at Shell Beach.
Much of that decision also rests on whether the Coast Guard and BP will allow the state to use Hesco baskets, which are sand-filled wire mesh and fabric boxes that in combat zones form perimeter fencing at outposts to help protect troops from gunfire and blasts. In the oil fight, the baskets could be set up along the coast to keep sludge from fouling beaches, something the Alabama National Guard already has done at Dauphin Island.
Jindal said that request was initially rejected. However, the state made a second request last week to use the baskets at Grand Isle and Queen Bess Island, indicating that more troops could be pressed into duty.
“That is labor intensive,” Jindal said. “That would require significant additional National Guard members to deploy those.”
‘A heroic job’
He lauded the troops, saying they’re “doing a heroic job” in supporting the state’s response to the oil, much of which originates from local governments.
Ted Jackson / The Times-PicayuneNational Guard helicopters drop sandbags into a breach in the beach just west of Grand Isle to combat the spread of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
In Grand Isle, for instance, Mayor David Camardelle said local officials knew about a section of the adjacent Elmer’s Island that washed out, opening a pass through which oil potentially could pass to inland marshes. The National Guard sent about 50 soldiers, dump trucks and bulldozers to build a 700-foot berm at the barrier island’s eastern end.
Those troops, with the Baton Rouge-based 769th Engineer Battalion, began working there May 8, and they expected to finish the project in a few days. The soldiers worked around the clock so the tide didn’t wash away work they completed.
Posted at Elmer’s Island this week to repair military equipment should it break down, Spec. Daniel Davis of Baton Rouge said he volunteered for active duty on April 31, and was at Jackson Barracks the following morning. Now stationed at Grand Isle, he gets “maybe four hours” of sleep daily.
“If it’s helping with Louisiana’s economy, I’m willing to help,” Davis said. “We’re handling business right now.”
In war and commerce
In St. Bernard Parish, the 2225th brought its combat expertise: quickly bridging waterways. In war, the company is a prime target. Take it out, and an enemy stalls an advance into battle. But in the oil fight, the 2225th’s soldiers might not have realized their underlying role: commerce.
St. Bernard Parish officials staged their oil fight at Breton Sound Marina in Hopedale. With fishing closed because of the leak, fishers hired by BP to distribute boom along the marshes and islands in Breton Sound could buy fuel at that marina. But that left Campo’s Marina in Shell Beach out, said St. Bernard Parish Councilman Wayne Landry, who with Councilman Fred Eberhardt sought a second staging area. That help came in the form of the 2225th’s pier.
“Could we stage everything out of Breton Sound? Absolutely,” Landry said. “I wanted to try to keep them busy. I wanted to spread some of the commerce out. To me, it’s amazing how fast the military got here. It is very fortunate that the National Guard is working so well with us, whether it’s a security detail or crowd control. Just the presence of them is indicative of state support.”
St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro also applauded the troops. He gave the 2225th soldiers a pep talk last week before they began assembling the pier.
“We welcome their support,” Taffaro said of the soldiers and their pier. “It’s a critical part of our plan.”
About 2 1/2 hours after the first bridge section plopped open in Bayou Yscloskey, the 2225th soldiers had assembled a pier just over 300 feet long in the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. Giroir would keep a 10-soldier squad at the site as long as the pier was there. The rest of the soldiers returned to their armory in Marrero to clean the saltwater from their boats and train until their next mission, whatever it would be and whenever it could come.
“That could be tomorrow,” Giroir said. “They could have us loading boom.”
Paul Purpura can be reached at email@example.com or 504.826.3791.
Gulf Coast being used as ‘laboratory’ by BP, observers say
State officials are angry that federal regulators gave the company permission to try out new chemical techniques to break up and hold back the growing tide of oil.
Despite registering concerns about the potential implications for the environment, marine life and human health, Governor Bobby Jindal’s administration was cut out of deliberations over the use of dispersants that break up the oil, as the Environmental Protection Agency granted BP permission to release large quantities underwater.
“We don’t have any data or evidence behind the use of these chemicals in the water. We’re now basically using one of the richest ecosysystems in the world as a laboratory,” complained Alan Levine, the head of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals.
Gulf spill akin to Ixtoc I disasterof 1979
By Jim Ash • Florida Capital Bureau Chief • May 16, 2010
A rig explodes and sinks, a blowout preventer fails and Gulf of Mexico states wait weeks with containment booms and crossed fingers for the devastation to wash ashore.
Substitute “Ixtoc I” for “Deepwater Horizon,” and “PEMEX” for “BP,” and the world’s largest peacetime oil spill sounds eerily similar to the 2,500 square miles of Gulf surface now threatening Florida’s shores.
Ixtoc I was an exploratory rig leased by the Mexican national oil company from a firm tied to a then sitting Texas governor. After it blew out on June 3, 1979, it took nine months to drill a relief well to cap it. By then, 140 million gallons of crude were sloshing around the Bay of Campeche and beyond.
The spill eventually coated 200 miles of Texas beaches.
“We had a good idea of the prevailing winds and we predicted that it would hit us in two months,” says Wes Tunnell, associate director of Texas A&M University’s Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies in Corpus Christi. “Sure enough, it showed up 60 days later, almost to the day.”
Tunnell, a marine biologist who was earning his doctorate at the time, was a scientific coordinator for the Ixtoc I event.
Deepwater Horizon may stir a collective memory of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, but there’s no comparison, Tunnell said. The Exxon Valdez was a tanker and had a finite amount of cargo, eventually releasing 10.8 million gallons.
There’s no way to predict how much oil Deepwater Horizon will spew before BP shuts it down. Company officials say a relief well could be completed in as little as two months.
The Texas response strategy for Ixtoc I was to use barrier islands as a first line of defense, and booms and skimmers for the bays and estuaries behind them, Tunnell said. Estuaries are critical, he said, because that’s where 90 percent of all marine species in the Gulf of Mexico spend a portion of their lives.
“It’s a lot easier to clean it up off the sand,” Tunnell said.
Tunnell claims the cleanup was a success, although tourism on South Padre Island was wiped out for months. Residents and businesses sued claiming $300 million in damages.
Mexico oil spills reflect crumbling network
State company says it doesn’t get enough repair money
There were three powerful explosions on this Brazilian oil rig, killing as many as ten. If the photo doesn’t do it justice, consider that the rig is 40 stories high.
It’s my day for followup pictures. Here are shots of (left, top) the partly sinking rig, (left bottom) the mostly sunken rig, and then (right) the entirely sunk rig. It was in fact owned by a Brazilian company.
BusinessWeek – Daniel Cancel – 1 day ago
Aban gas rig loss to jack up energy cos’ insurance costs – Economic Times
Aban Offshore rig sinks in Caribbean, no leaks – Moneycontrol.com
FACTBOX – Incidents and accidents involving Venezuela’s PDVSA – Reuters India
UPI.com – Reuters UK
all 345 news articles »
The Guardian – 1 day ago
CNN (blog) – 39 minutes ago
Nashua Telegraph – Dale McFeatters – 1 hour ago
10 Connects – 1 hour ago
Quest for oil leaves trail of damage across the globe
By TOM KNUDSON
Like many of her neighbors, Celina Harpe is angry about the oil pollution at her doorstep. No longer can she eat the silvery fish that dart along the shore near her home. Even the wind that hurries over the water reeks of oil waste.
“I get so mad,” she said. “I feel very sad.”
Harpe, 70, isn’t a casualty of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She lives in a remote corner of Alberta, Canada, where another oil field that’s vital to the United States is damaging one of the world’s most important ecosystems: Canada’s northern forest.
Across the globe, people such as Harpe in oil-producing regions are watching the catastrophe in the Gulf with a mixture of horror, hope and resignation. To some, the black tide is a global event that finally may awaken the world to the real cost of oil.
“This is a call to attention for all humanity,” said Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer in Ecuador who’s suing Chevron over oil pollution in the Amazon on behalf of 30,000 plaintiffs.
“Oil has a price,” he added, “but water, life and a clean environment are worth much more.”
Others say previous oil disasters haven’t changed things much, and this one won’t, either.
( . . . )
There’s no denying that the rust-red plumes of oil and tar balls in the Gulf of Mexico are a potential ecological calamity for American Southern shores. More than half the petroleum consumed in this country, however, is imported from other countries, where damage from exploration and drilling is more common but goes largely unnoticed.
No one’s tallied the damage worldwide, but it includes at least 200 square miles of ruined wildlife habitat in Alberta, more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater spilled into the rainforests of Ecuador, and a parade of purple-black oil slicks that skim across Africa’s Niger Delta, where more than 2,000 polluted sites are estimated to need cleaning up.
“Spills, leaks and deliberate discharges are happening in oil fields all over the world, and very few people seem to care,” said Judith Kimerling, a professor of law and policy at the City University of New York and the author of “Amazon Crude,” a book about oil development in Ecuador.
“No one is accepting responsibility,” Kimerling said. “Our fingerprint is on those disasters because we are such a major consumer of oil.”
The United States burns through 19.5 million barrels of oil a day – one-quarter of the world’s consumption and more than China, Japan, India and Russia combined. That’s 2.7 gallons a day for every man, woman and child, one of highest rates in the world.
Four decades of spills and leaks by oil companies there, including some from the United States, have fouled thousands of miles of jungle streams and wetland zones.
“What does this all mean to the people? It means high levels of illness in the petroleum zones, where they have 30 percent more cancer,” Martinez said. “The worst indicators of poverty are right next to petroleum sites.”
For its part, the Western States Petroleum Association, which represents U.S. oil companies, argues that tapping America’s offshore oil is more responsible, but the Gulf spill will only make that more difficult, said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the group’s president.
“We have to re-earn the confidence, relearn the lessons and move on to explore and access these resources domestically, so we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Reheis-Boyd said.
Much of California’s disdain for drilling stems from a 1969 well blowout near Santa Barbara that killed some 3,700 seabirds and captured nationwide attention.
By historic standards, it was a significant but not gigantic spill – more than 3 million gallons leaked, compared with 11 million from the Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989 and 4 million so far from the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf. It had a super-sized impact, however, jump-starting an era of environmental activism and helping to inspire the first Earth Day a year later.
“A lot of the oil ended up on the coast, where people are highly sensitized to their environment and activist by nature,” said Tupper Hull, the vice president of strategic communications for the Western States Petroleum Association.
“Oil spills are terrible things to see,” he said. “They have a visual and visceral and emotional impact on people that cannot be trivialized.”
The Santa Barbara spill “set off a chain of events that created an orthodoxy on this issue,” he said. “It was a game-changer, not unlike what’s now taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.”
In northern Alberta, where oil companies are mining tarlike sands, converting them to crude and piping about 830,000 barrels a day south to the United States, indigenous people such as Harpe have complained for years about pollution, illness and the destruction of wildlife habitat.
“It doesn’t matter what we say,” Harpe said by phone from her home along the Athabasca River in the booming “oil sands” region. “It seems to go in one ear and out the other. We are being ignored.”
that’s enough for now .
My Note –
One more thing –
March 18 – UNITED KINGDOM – The Torrey Canyon ran aground off Cornwall spilling 80,000 tonnes (919,000 barrels) of crude.
March 20 – SWEDEN – At least 438,000 barrels of oil spilled in a collision involving the Othello in Tralhavet Bay.
December 19 – OMAN – After a collision with Brazilian tanker Horta Barbosa the South Korean tanker Sea Star spilled about 840,000 barrels of crude into the Gulf of Oman.
December 15 – USA – The Argo Merchant ran aground off Nantucket spilling 183,000 barrels of oil and causing a slick 160 km (100 miles) long and 97 km wide.
February 25 – PACIFIC – The Liberian-registered Hawaiian Patriot caught fire in the Northern Pacific spilling 723,000 barrels.
March 16 – FRANCE – About 1.6 million barrels of crude spilled after the Amoco Cadiz ran aground near Portsall in France’s worst ever tanker accident. The resulting slick eventually covered 125 miles of Breton coast.
June 3 – MEXICO – An estimated 140 million gallons of oil spilled from an exploratory well in the Gulf of Mexico, 80 km NW of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche.
July 19 – TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – About 2.2 million barrels of crude spilled after a collision off Tobago between the Atlantic Empress and the Aegean Captain.
August 6 – SOUTH AFRICA – Fire broke out on the Spanish tanker Castillo de Bellver and 1.8 million barrels of light crude burnt off the coast at Cape Town.
March 24 – USA – The Exxon Valdez hit rocks in Prince William Sound spilling some 240,000 barrels of crude oil onto Alaskan shores.
December 19 – MOROCCO – After explosions and a fire Iranian tanker Kharg-5 was abandoned spilling 70,000 tonnes of crude oil, endangering the coast and oyster beds at Oualidia.
February 7 – USA – The tanker, American Trader, leaked 300,000 gallons of crude from a gash in the hull causing an oil slick 22 km long polluting Bosa Chica, one of southern California’s
biggest nature reserves.
January 26 – KUWAIT – An estimated 240 million gallons of oil were spilled from terminals, tankers and oil wells during the final phase of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
May 28 – ANGOLA/LIBERIA – A Liberian-registered supertanker, ABT Summer, leaked oil after an explosion off Angola causing an oil slick 17 nautical miles by three.
March 2 – UZBEKISTAN – An estimated 88 million gallons of oil spilled from an oil well at Fergana Valley.
September 19 – INDONESIA – Liberian-registered tanker Nagasaki Spirit collided with container Ocean Blessing in the Malacca Straits spilling some 12,000 tonnes of crude.
December 3 – SPAIN – Greek tanker Aegean Sea ran aground and broke in two near La Coruna spilling most of its 80,000 tons cargo of oil.
January 5 — UNITED KINGDOM – Oil poured on to the coast of northern Scotland’s Shetland Islands after the 89,000-ton Liberian-registered Braer hit rocks in heavy seas. The tanker carried 84,500 tons of crude oil. A huge oil slick stretched 25 miles (40 km) up the coast.
January 21 — SINGAPORE / INDONESIA / MALAYSIA – The 255,312-ton Singapore-registered tanker Maersk Navigator collided with the empty tanker Sanko Honour in the Andaman Sea en route from Oman to Japan. It was carrying a cargo of nearly 2 million barrels of oil. Its ruptured port side leaked burning oil and spread a slick up to 35 miles (56 km) long off Sumatra drifting towards India’s Nicobar Islands.
February 11 — NETHERLANDS – Up to 30,000 seabirds were feared killed by a paraffin oil slick thought to have been discharged by a passing ship during the past two weeks. It was the worst oil spill off the Dutch coast in five years.
March 9 — GERMANY/POLAND – The wreck of the Jan Heweliusz, a Polish ferry which sank in the Baltic off Germany on January 14, began leaking oil. The ship was estimated to have up to 80 tons of fuel on board.
June 3 — BELGIUM / UNITED KINGDOM – Seven crewmen from a British tanker, the British Trent, burned to death in a blazing sea of petrol about 15 miles (24km) off Ostend after a collision with a Panamanian bulk carrier in thick fog. Two other crewmen were missing and presumed dead. Belgian environmental officials and the ship’s owner, British Petroleum, played down pollution dangers. The tanker was loaded with 24,000 tons of petrol, which poured out of a hole in the port bow.
August 19 — FRANCE – An oil slick off the French Riviera after a collision between a nuclear submarine and a supertanker was brought under control with no danger to beaches. The collision on August 17 caused two spills, one off Fos-sur-Mer and one farther out.
October 15 — GREECE – Oil leaked from the Greek tanker Iliad killed wildlife and destroyed fish farms in the bay of Pylos. A three-mile-long (4.8 km) oil slick was caused when the tanker ran aground off the island of Spaktiria on October 9.
January 7 — PUERTO RICO – The Morris J. Furhman, a barge carrying about 1.5 million gallons of fuel oil, went aground off the northern side of the capital city harbor. 750,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil had been spilled and had spread to cover a six-mile (9.6 km) stretch of shore. Conado Beach, the Conado lagoon and San Juan Bay were all polluted.
March 6 — THAILAND – About 105,670 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the sea some four miles (6.4 km) off the eastern Sriracha coast after a chartered oil tanker and an unidentified cargo ship collided. The tanker, the Visahakit 5, was carrying about 1.06 million gallons of diesel and liquefied petroleum gas.
March 16 — TURKEY – A cleanup effort was begun to scoop patches of crude from the Bosphorus waterway and remove oil washed onto shore after a fiery collision on March 13 between the tanker Nassia and the freighter Shipbroker, both Cypriot-flagged. The accident, the worst in the Bosphorus in 15 years, killed 29 crewmen.
March 31 — UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – 15,900 tons of crude oil leaked into the Arabian Sea after the Panamanian-flagged supertanker Seki spilled the crude 10 miles (16 km) off the UAE port of Fujairah, just outside the Gulf, when it collided with the UAE tanker Baynunah, which was in ballast. Oil reached the UAE coast north of Khor Fakkan close to the Strait of Hormuz. The oil slick severely polluted several beaches and threatened more than 25 miles (40 km) of coastline.
May 8 — VIETNAM – The 1,220-ton Vietnamese Chanoco I, carrying 1,012 tons of fuel oil, and a 10,000-ton Taiwanese ship Unihumanity collided in the Long Tau river near Ho Chi Minh City. About 200 tons spilled into the river from the Vietnamese ship causing a 200-ton oil slick, which killed fish and other wildlife.
June 14 — INDIA – Indian authorities began siphoning off 700 tons of oil from the Sea Transporter, a 6,000-ton Greek cargo ship which had been anchored off Aguada after it ran aground following a cyclone on June 5.
June 23 — SOUTH AFRICA – An oil slick washing ashore on Dassen Island threatened a colony of endangered Jackass penguins and polluted mainland beaches. It was confirmed on June 28 that the Apollo Sea, a Chinese bulk carrier that was believed to have sunk on June 20 shortly after leaving Saldanha Bay, was the source of Cape Town’s worst oil pollution disaster.
August 11 — UNITED STATES – The Columbus Iselin, a ship conducting oil spill research, ran aground in the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary off the Florida Keys and was leaking fuel.
October 2 — PORTUGAL – A Panamanian registered tanker, Cercal, spilled about 2,000 tons of crude into the sea after striking a rock on its way into Leixoes harbor, in the northern city of Oporto. The oil badly polluted one beach near the entrance to Leixoes port and smaller quantities of oil came ashore on other parts of the coast near Oporto.
October 17 — CHINA – 1,000 meters of beaches and reefs at Dongshan, a resort area at Qinhuangdao in Hebei province were polluted by an oil spill blamed on the Huahai Number Two tanker, owned by the state-run Huahai Company of Beijing.
June 5 — SINGAPORE – About 100 tons of fuel oil leaked from a bunker fuel barge after it collided with the freighter Sun Pulse. The fuel oil had begun washing up on the island’s east coast.
July 11 — AUSTRALIA – An ore carrier, the Iron Baron, ran aground on a reef in southern Australian waters, spilling more than 500 tons of fuel oil and causing a major pollution scare for the island state of Tasmania. Thousands of fairy penguins were fouled with oil.
July 25 — SOUTH KOREA – Oil leaking from the 275,782 deadweight ton Sea Prince, a burning tanker off South Korea, formed a slick 20 miles (32 km) in diameter. The ship was loaded with 83,000 tons of crude oil. It was drifting toward the country’s best known sea resort. 700 tons of fuel oil estimated to have been leaked.
February 15 — UNITED KINGDOM – The coast guard called a full environmental alert when the 147,000 deadweight ton Liberian-registered Sea Empress with a crew of 28 Russians hit rocks near the port of Milford Haven, Wales. The tanker, operated by Acomarit, had been carrying 130,000 tons of light crude oil. On February 20 an estimated 40,000 tons of crude oil spilled — a third of its cargo — creating a four-mile (six km) oil slick.
March 19 — UNITED STATES – A barge operated by Buffalo Marine Services Inc. and loaded with about 210,000 gallons of fuel oil ruptured as it sailed through the Houston Ship Channel. About 4,200 gallons of oil spilled into Galveston Bay, causing a five-mile-long (eight km) oil slick.
January 7 — JAPAN – Coastal fishing villages in northwestern Japan braced for economic and environmental catastrophe as oil slicks from sunken Russian tanker Nakhodka coated beaches and threatened prized shellfish beds. The spill from the ruptured tanker leaked 5,200 tons (36,400 barrels) of heavy fuel oil.
July 2 — JAPAN – A supertanker struck a shallow reef in Tokyo Bay, a famed fishing ground, leaking an estimated 1500 tons of crude oil.
October 15 — SINGAPORE – A tanker carrying 120.000 tonnes of fuel oil collides with an empty VLCC. More than 25.000 tonnes of oil leak out from the vessel, and despite huge amounts of dispersant chemicals being applied both from the air and from vessels, the beaches of several smaller islands off Singapore are covered with greasy sludge.
January 12 — NIGERIA – 40,000 barrels of oil spilled from a ruptured pipeline to one of Mobil’s terminals. Even though most of the oil had either evaporated or dispersed within the 10 days that followed, some communities in the politically-volatile region complained that fish had been poisoned by the spilled oil and fishing nets destroyed. The spill is considered the largest ever in Nigeria.
December 12 – FRANCE – The Maltese-registered tanker Erika breaks up in stormy seas, and an estimated 15,000 tonnes of oil are drifting towards France’s Atlantic shore. The slick is expected to hit the tiny Nourmoutier and Ile d’Yeu islands on Christmas Day, with disastrous consequences for fishing and tourism. Strong winds and currents and the heavy texture of the oil, have hampered an international flotilla battling to mop up the fast-spreading slick. Gales have since smeared the black slime over hundreds of miles of coast, covering beaches and picturesque wild coastline in sticky oil and threatening fisheries and beds of oysters, mussels and other shellfish.
December 27 – TURKEY – A Maltese-registered tanker carrying 45,753 tons of oil ran aground at the mouth of the Bosporus strait across Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, the Turkish Daily News reported. Murat Zafer Cetintas, head of the Organization of Eco-Warriors and the Environment, was quoted as saying that if necessary precautions are not taken, the city will face serious problems.
December 27 – ANGOLA – An offshore oil spill is approaching the Angolan coast, posing a threat to the fishing industry. Radio Ecclesia said the spill, which occurred in the Atlantic Ocean oil fields off Cabinda province, was advancing towards the coast.
January 4 – TURKEY – Fuel oil blackened kilometers of Istanbul’s coast along the Bosporus after a Russian-registered tanker split apart in the strait that cuts through Istanbul. About 900 tons of fuel oil had spilled before it stopped pouring out of the Volganeft 248, and oil could be seen along five kilometers of the coast. Turkey is trying to reduce oil tanker traffic in the strait, through which about 440 million barrels of oil are transported each year. Some 200 accidents over the last decade in the strait have caused oil spills and fires that sometimes shut down the strait.
January 18 – BRASIL – At least 130,000 gallons of crude oil spewed out of a broken pipeline, polluting beaches and endangering plant and animal life in what authorities called the worst ecological disaster to hit Rio de Janeiro state in a decade. The oil covered at least three miles of coastline, affecting at least two beaches and a mangrove swamp rich in animal and plant species.
January 24 – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The Honduran-flagged cargo vessel Al Jazya 1 sank 4 miles east of Abu Dhabi’s coast, laden with 980 tons of fuel oil. The tanker sank in bad weather, leaving an oil spill of around 2000 feet by 400 feet. The Federal Environmental Agency said it is still too early to assess the extent of damage caused by the slick on marine life and birds.
February 2 – BOLIVIA – A flash flood broke a crude oil pipeline, spilling hundreds of barrels of oil into the Desaguadero River that flows into Lake Poopo, the government reported. The pipeline is operated by Transredes, which sent several experts to help contain the oil and assess the damage it is causing to a river inhabited by pink flamingoes and other birds. The oil spill had reached Aymara Indian communities located dozens of miles downriver, and is expected to reach Lake Poopo shortly.
February 2 – PHILIPPINES – After running aground on January 24th on the coast of Sual town in Lingayen Gulf, the Singapore-owned vessel MV Nol Schedar was suspected to have left behind an oil slick after she was floated on February 2nd. The spill was later said to have destroyed 2,700 metres of coral reefs and other marine resources, and the case is pending in court.
February 7 – BRAZIL – Brazilian authorities scrambled to avert an environmental disaster in the Amazon jungle, after a barge holding nearly 500,000 gallons (1.8 million liters) of oil sunk to the bottom of the world’s largest river network. “Environmental advisers are working alongside diving teams to prevent ecological damage,” said Mauricio Andres Ribeiro at Brazil’s environment ministry.
April 1 – INDONESIA – About 160.000 kilolitres of crude oil leaked out from the tanker “King Fisher”, after it hit a reef while approaching the Pertamina port in Cilacapan, at the Southern coast of Central Java. One thousand people are involved in cleaning up more than 25 km of shoreline, including popular tourist areas.
April 7 – UNITED STATES – Some 111,000 gallons of oil spilled near Pepco’s Chalk Point Generating Station, affecting shorelines of the Patuxent River in southern Maryland. Some 6 1/2 miles of oil containment booms were positioned in the river and at the entrance to several creeks, and an estimated 80,000 gallons of spilled oil were recovered in 24-hour-a-day operations since the leak occurred.
June 23 – SOUTH AFRICA – Environmentalists were scrambling to rescue thousands of jackass penguins from an oil spill off Cape Town, just six years after the population was devastated by a similar disaster. The oil spill began when the bulk carrier Treasure carrying some 1,400 tonnes of oil sank off the coast of Cape Town. The spill is washing straight into Robben Island, home to about 5,700 pairs of jackass penguins.
July 6th – UNITED STATES – 14.000 gallons of oil has spilled from a collision between a barge and a tug that was towing it, off Middletown, Rhode Island. A ban on fishing is in effect in one of the most fertile areas of Narragansett Bay, and it’s only been four years since the worst oil spill in Rhode Island history, when 828-thousand gallons spilled, killing more than ten (m) million lobsters and prompting a ban on fishing for five months.
July 16th – BRAZIL – The country is suffering one of its worst oil spills ever, as more than 1 million gallons of crude has leaked from a refinery into a river near the southern city of Curitiba. State-run oil company Petrobras said a pipe broke, spewing oil for up to two hours into the Barigui River, a tributary of the Iguacu River, 390 miles upstream from Iguacu Falls, a major tourist attraction. Television images showed a completely blackened river winding through the countryside.
July 25th – BRAZIL – A large oil slick again spread over Rio’s postcard-famous Guanabara Bay on Tuesday, the third oil spill there this year. The slick was broken up in patches across an area of more than 20 square miles, environmentalists said. It washed up on beaches within the bay, and stretched out into the open sea.
August 1 – CANADA – Residents of the town of Chetwynd were told to conserve water , as officials surveyed the damage from a massive oil spill into a pristine river in northern British Columbia. Chetwynd stopped pumping water from the Pine River as the first traces of the estimated 264,600 gallons (one million liters ) of crude oil spilled in a pipeline break on Tuesday reached the community of about 3,000 people. The heavy oil had also begun killing some of the river’s fish, which are a key food supply for eagles and other wildlife in the region.
August 8 – UNITED STATES – U.S. Coast Guard investigators boarded ships in Miami and Port Everglades, trying to determine which crew dumped oil off the South Florida coast, creating the area’s worst oil spill in at least a decade. The oil contaminated 15 miles of beach, and all beaches along the 15-mile stretch were closed when the oil was discovered. Some endangered and threatened sea turtles are about to hatch, and oily debris block their path to the ocean.
September 2 – MALAYSIA – A major cleanup is underway following an oil spill from a sunken Chinese cargo ship at Tanjung Po anchorage point at the Sarawak River mouth. The ill-fated 5,000 ton Kingston registered vessel Double Brave was loaded with about 116 tons of diesel oil when it sank after a collision with a barge being towed by a tugboat. About 60 workers from the Marine Department, Department of Environment, and the Kuching Port Authority had been helping in the clean-up operation.
September 4 – GREECE – Greek authorities raced against time to prevent an environmental disaster, following a fuel oil spill from a sunken cargo ship off a popular stretch of tourist beaches northeast of Athens. Miles of coastline was threatened by the spill, which came from the Cambodian-registered cement carrier Eurobulker X. The 35,264 dwt vessel broke in half a week earlier, while loading cement at Lefkandi port, central Greece. It was the second spill inside a week, following a smaller spill from a grounded freighter off the island of Kythira.
September 14 – UNITED STATES – Wind and high waves spread a 30,000-gallon oil spill across Sandy Hook Bay, thwarting efforts to contain and clean up the mess. An overnight storm upset booms that had been set out to contain the fuel, which spilled when a tugboat put a 4-foot gash in a Navy ship, the USS Detroit. Navy Cmdr. Chuck Caudill said the oil was so dispersed that Navy skimmers could not pick up measurable amounts. The spill is one of the largest ever in the bay, and the state has banned harvesting of shellfish in the area until further notice.
October 2 – SWEDEN – Swedish environmentalists are warning that an oil spill could harm seals in the Baltic Sea’s Gotska Sandoen national park, as park rangers discovered an oil belt about 12 miles long. Big lumps of oil had covered about 90 percent of the beaches of Gotska Sandoen, an island about 60 miles off the southeastern coast of Sweden. The Swedish coast guard was investigating the source of the spill, and it was not known how many gallons of oil spilled.
October 4 – INDONESIA – An estimated 7.000 tons of oil has been spilled in Indonesian waters off the Batu Berhanti Beacon, after a Panama registered tanker, Natuna Sea, ran aground damaging 4 of its cargo tanks. An oil boom of 300 m length has been deployed around the tanker, but this could not prevent the oil from escaping in a South-westerly direction. Some patches of the oil have since reached Singapore, and clean-up actions have, amongst others, commenced on the beaches of Sentosa, Singapore’s famous tourist resort.
November 4th – BRAZIL – Brazil’s state oil giant Petrobras, criticized for a string of spills this year, suffered another leak when a tanker dumped 13,200 gallons of crude near a popular beach resort area, local media said. The accident caused a slick measuring some 492 feet, and posed a risk for the region’s bustling beach resorts nearby.
November 14th – HONG KONG – Some 230 cubic metres of heavy oil leaked into the sea north of Hongkong’s Lantau Island, after a small Chinese oil freighter collided with a Norwegian vessel
and sank. The oil slick covering an area of 10,000 square metres, and some had reached the 12-sq-km Sha Chau marine park, a dolphin sanctuary.
November 28th – UNITED STATES – A tanker spilled half a million gallons of crude oil into the Mississippi River, closing a busy shipping route for 26 miles and threatening wildlife. No injuries were reported, but some pelicans and other animals were found covered with oil. The area is home to pelicans, shorebirds, seabirds, crabs, shrimp and sport fish, as well as more than 100,000 wintering waterfowl. The 567,000-gallon spill is the largest in U.S. waters since the Exxon Valdez in March 1989.
December 15th – NORWAY – A Norwegian freighter runs aground off the city of Haugesund, spilling some 100 tonnes of fuel oil which immediately hit the nearby coastlines. Heavy weather tempers the initial response actions, but reports say some 70 tonnes have since been recovered by means of using oil skimmers. The authorities are contemplating to have the remaining 300 tonnes of oil removed from the ship, to prevent the risk of further pollution. Meanwhile, several thousand metres of oil booms have been deployed for containment and protection.
January 14 – TAIWAN – Taiwan is racing against time to avert an ecological disaster and a major setback to its tourism industry, following the island’s worst oil spill. Some 1,150 tonnes of fuel oil gushed out of a Greece-registered ship carrying 60,000 tonnes of iron ore, after it ran aground off the Kenting National Park. Marine mammals in the area, such as dolphins, are highly endangered by the spill. The crisis also threatens the operation of a nearby nuclear power plant, and risks cross-strait disputes if the spillage spreads to the Chinese coast.
January 15 – NORWAY – One of the largest oil spills ever from a land based oil storage facility in Norway, was detected when at least 750 tons of sludge had leaked from Norcem’s facilities at Brevik. By the afternoon, some 100 tons had been recovered within the containment area around the tank, whilst another 190 tons had been recovered from the sea. The recovery operations are continuing, under close scrutiny from the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority.
January 16 – ECUADOR – A boat carrying fuel to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands is leaking oil into the ecologically sensitive waters near the famous islands. The boat, named “Jessica”, was carrying 160,000 gallons of diesel and about 80,000 gallons of IFO 120.The spill has already affected animals including sea lions and pelicans, and volunteers are on standby to clean up and rescue them.
February 16 – INDONESIA – The Coast Guard authorities are working to re-float an oil tanker that ran aground in rough seas off Indonesia’s Java island. The Honduras-registered Steadfast partially sank in shallow waters, when it was battered by massive waves and winds off Tegal, some 250 km east of Jakarta. Roughly 40 per cent of an estimated 800 tonnes of sump oil had leaked from the ship and reached the shore, and a joint clean-up operation involving local vessels, Coast Guard and police authorities is underway.
March 20 – BRAZIL – Up to 316,000 gallons of diesel has leaked after the world’s largest offshore platform sank five days after a failed rescue effort. A huge diesel slick appeared on the surface when the platform sank to bottom of the ocean floor, almost a mile down. This was just another in a series of oil spills that have plagued the state owned Petrobras in recent months.
March 25 – DENMARK – More than 764,000 gallons of oil spilled after a double-hulled tanker carrying 9.7 million gallons of oil, and a freighter crashed in international waters between eastern Denmark and northwest Germany. A slick about 9.3 miles long and 161/2-feet wide slipped into the narrow Groensund strait between the Danish islands of Moen, Bogoe and Falster, while the bulk of the oil remained in the Baltic Sea off southern Denmark. As ships from three countries worked to contain the oil spill, an international conservation group said that a sanctuary home to thousands of ducks, swans and other water fowl was under threat by the oil slick, the largest ever in Denmark.
April 6 – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Workers have started to clean a 12-kilometer-radius oil spill reaching the reserved island of Sir Bou Neair, about 70 nautical miles off the coast of the Emirate of Sharjah. The spill was caused by the Iraqi fuel tanker Zainab, suspected of smuggling around 1,300 tonnes of fuel oil from Iraq, as it ran into trouble on its way to a holding area in international waters. The emirate of Sharjah said it had temporarily shut down a desalination plant as a precautionary measure, after the spill neared pumping stations. The spill is said to be the emirate’s worst environmental disaster in years.
May 24 – BRAZIL – Petrobras, infamous for a series of spills over the past two years, shut 12 oil rigs, responsible for nearly 9 percent of Brazil’s oil output, Thursday night after detecting an oil slick on the ocean surface. There were two oil slicks some 90 km off the coast, one of approximately 110,000 liters and another of some 10,000 liters of crude. The source of the spill has yet to be determined, but officials are ruling out any relation to the huge oil rig that sank in March.
May 25 – CHILE – An oil tanker that ran aground in a remote southern Chilean fjord has spilled some 350,528 litres of crude, leaving an oil slick 70 miles (112 km) long and damaging wildlife and a salmon farm, the Chilean Navy has admitted. Maritime authorities initially dismissed the incident, saying the leak had been negligible and had caused no damage to the environment. But the Navy later admitted the spill was worse than initially announced.
May 28 – MALAYSIA – An oil tanker with some 67 tonnes of fuel, including diesel and 1,500 tonnes of bitumen, sunk after it was crashed from behind by a super tanker about 7.5 nautical miles off Pulau Undan, near Malacca. Officials said the crash caused MT Singapura Timur to take in water, and remained half-submerged in the sea floating southwards. Diesel and bitumen have started to spill into the sea, and is spreading to about one nautical mile from the collision spot.
May 30 – BRAZIL– Oil giant Petrobras said a break in its Paulinia pipeline dumped 220,000 liters of fuel oil in a residential neighborhood. The spill, which occurred 30 kilometers from the city of Sao Paulo, follows two unexplained and unclaimed oil spills in the Campos Basin off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.
May 30 – CHINA – Chinese environmental experts are struggling to contain damage from toxic styrene which leaked from a ship, and fishermen along the eastern coast fear their livelihoods could be threatened for years to come. About 700 tonnes of the chemical, which is poisonous to humans, seeped into the waters near Shanghai after a South Korean vessel collided with a Hong Kong. State media said the South Korean freighter Dayong was carrying nearly 2,300 tonnes of styrene when it collided with the Hong Kong vessel in dense fog at the mouth of the Yangtze River, near Jigujiao.
June 10 – PHILIPPINES – An oil spill in Cavite is threatening to contaminate Laguna de Bay, caused by a bursting oil pipeline of an industrial and electronics firm at the People’s Technological Complex in Barangay Maduya, Carmona town. The oil spill has already affected a six-kilometer stretch of Carmona-Biñan River, just a few kilometers away from the Laguna Bay. Aside from the affected river, the spilling bunker oil and industrial fuel oil also affected land base areas surrounding the firm.
June 13 – MALAYSIA – An Indonesian tanker laden with a toxic chemical has capsized off Malaysia’s southern Johor state, just across from Singapore. The 533 ton MV Endah Lestari was on its way to East Kalimantan in Indonesia with some 600 tonnes of the poisonous industrial chemical phenol, and 18 tonnes of diesel. Newspaper reports said the toxic spill had killed thousands of fish and cockles reared in 85 offshore cages, and Singapore authorities have also warned its citizens to stay away from nearby waters. Officials said it would be tough to mop up the phenol, as it is soluble in water.
August 4 – USA – A fishing vessel that has sunk and is leaking diesel fuel has caused the biggest spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound since the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, posing a threat to the area’s wildlife. The Seattle-based Windy Bay was loaded with about 35,000 gallons (133,000 liters) of diesel fuel when it struck a rock and sank in the northern part of the sound about 40 miles (65 km) southwest of the port of Valdez. Just how much leaked was unknown, but diesel fuel leaking from the ship has created a sheen covering 4 square miles (10 sq km), and cleanup crews has recovered about 9,700 gallons (36,800 liters).
August 10 – MICRONESIA – A sunken World War II ship has been gushing 300 to 500 gallons of oil per hour into the Ulithi Atoll lagoon. The cause of the spill is the USS Mississinewa, a 553-foot Navy oiler sunk in 1944 by a one-man Japanese suicide submarine. Yap State officials said the state’s governor has declared a state of emergency for Ulithi and advised the 700 people who live on the atoll not to swim or fish in the lagoon. Questions have been raised who should bear the responsibility for taking relevant action, with focus on getting international assistance to clean-up and minimize the environmental and ecological impacts.
September 7 – VIETNAM – Local residents in small boats used buckets to try to collect thousands of tons of oil from a damaged oil tanker and save the nearby beach resort of Vung Tau, after The Vietnamese Petrolimex 01 tanker, carrying 19,000 tons of diesel oil, was hit by a Liberian-registered oil tanker. But wind and waves drove much of the spilled oil to the beach, which normally attracts thousands of vacationers a day.
September 22 – USA – An oil spill caused by a collision between a ship and a barge closed the ship channel servicing the nation’s second largest port. The fuel oil spill occurred at Barbour’s Cut in La Porte, Texas, and some 860 barrels of fuel oil leaked into the channel. About 18,000 feet of boom were set up to contain the oil, and skimmers were removing it. Containment and cleanup operations involved more than 70 people.
October 4 – USA – Crews were slowed by explosive vapors as they tried to plug a leak in the trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline that spewed nearly 300,000 gallons of oil into the wilderness. A man who had been drinking caused the leak when he shot the pipeline with a big-game rifle. The pipeline carries about 1 million barrels of oil a day, prompting a halt to almost a fifth of U.S. domestic production.
October 18 – BRAZIL – Brazilian and foreign teams prepared to begin salvaging a tanker that hit underwater rocks, spewing a highly flammable oil product into the sea and forcing closure of the country’s primary port for grain shipments. State oil giant Petrobras, which owns the tanker, said about 103,000 gallons (392,000 litres) of naphtha, an oil product lighter than gasoline, spilled into the Paranagua port area, some 380 miles (600 km) southwest of Rio.
November 21 – GERMANY – Almost 2,000 tonnes of nitric acid has spilled into the Rhine river, when motor tank barge Stolt Rotterdam sank during a disastrous discharging operation. The 1988-built chemical tanker was discharging the acid at Erdoelchemie Uerdingen when crew noticed fumes coming from the bottom of the barge. An emergency response was initiated, but a store room caught fire, forcing the crew and everyone in the surrounding area to evacuate as the vessel sank, emptying 1,895 tonnes of nitric acid into the river.
December 11 – FINLAND – Oil from a spill off the country’s west coast has washed ashore on some 1.24 miles of Ruissalo island’s coastline, and the spill is now three kilometers long and a kilometer wide. 10 vessels are involved in operations to contain and sweep up the oil, but the source of the spill is still unknown.
January 22 – THAILAND – A huge oil slick has hit beaches in Thailand’s Rayong Bay, a popular holiday spot south-east of the capital Bangkok, and is also said to be threatening the nearby resort island of Samet. Some 100,000 litres of oil had spilled from the Panama-registered tanker Eastern Fortitude when it hit a rock in Rayong Bay a week earlier. Authorities have struggled to clean up the slick, now estimated to be at least 400 m wide and about 3 km long, but complained they were not alerted to the accident until too late.
February 8 – UNITED STATES – A ship that sank nearly 50 years ago is to blame for a mystery oil spill that has killed more than 1,300 birds since November. The Coast Guard matched oil samples taken from the SS Jacob Luckenbach, located about 17 miles southwest of the Golden Gate Bridge, to those taken from oiled birds and the oil sheen that has colored the water. Just a drop or two of oil on a bird’s feathers can break the animal’s insulating layer and lead to hypothermia.
February 9 – NEW ZEALAND – A major clean-up operation is under way after a cargo ship carrying more than 700 tonnes of fuel ran aground a few hundred metres from the north island port of Gisborne. Already, several tonnes of thick black oil has drifted 400 metres to shore, polluting nearby rivers, beaches and coastline and sending noxious fumes over dozens of houses. Whilst conservation staff have already rescued a number of birds affected by oil in a local creek, wildlife casualties are expected to be inevitable.
April 4 – JAPAN – A flotilla of ships has raced to contain an oil slick off Japan’s western coast before it washes ashore. The 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) long spill has been slowly moving towards the coast since it bubbled to the surface from a Belize-registered cargo ship that sank four days earlier, after colliding with a fishing boat. Officials earlier said the spill would likely hit the coast, but did not know when or where.
April 6 – USA – Strong wind hampered cleanup efforts as workers tried to contain a 90,000-gallon crude oil spill off the southeast Louisiana coast. Four-foot waves made it difficult for skimmers to collect the oil, but the Coast Guard said about 6,720 gallons had been recovered. No damage to wildlife had been reported, but officials expected there to be some shoreline impact.
June 12 – SINGAPORE – A collision between Thailand-registered freighter MV Hermion and Singapore-registered bunker tanker Neptank VII has caused about 450 tonnes of marine fuel oil to spill into the south-eastern waters of Singapore. Clean-up operations by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) have largely contained the oil spill, but broken patches of oil remained visible in the Singapore Straits, and oil booms were placed off the waters of Marina Bay and Sentosa.
July 31 – ROMANIA – Tons of oil gushed into a river in southern Romania after torrential rains damaged a pipeline. The spill occurred in the Prahova River near the village of Manesti, some 50 kilometers north of the capital, Bucharest. The water damaged the pipeline near a refinery owned by a state oil company, Conpet. Authorities placed dams along the Prahova to prevent oil from spilling into the Danube River, and police guarded the area overnight to prevent people from throwing flammable objects into the river.
September 12 – SOUTH AFRICA – Salvage teams and ecologists are battling to contain a spill of oil and chemicals from a blazing cargo vessel, and to prevent tides from pushing the spill into the pristine Saint Lucia wetlands, a wildlife sanctuary nearby. Wildlife officials have warned that a serious oil spill could pollute the Umfolozi River and a nearby estuary, and damage mangroves, crocodiles, hippos and a turtle nesting area in the park. Reefs off the area are also popular among scuba divers for their wide variety of fish.
November 13 – SPAIN – Four tugs have failed in their attempts to rescue a leaking oil tanker with 77.000 tonnes of fuel aboard, which later broke in two and sank off the northwestern coast of Spain. The Prestige, Greek-owned and registered in the Bahamas, has leaked most of its cargo, and the oil is washing up on the Galician shores and approaching the coastlines of Portugal and France. All fishing activities have been banned in the area, and the incident is fast becoming one of the worst ecological disasters ever to happen.
November 23 – CHINA – A Chinese ship has collided with a Maltese-registered oil tanker, spreading an oil slick 2.5 miles by 1.4 miles across the Bohai sea. The Tianjin Maritime Bureau sent seven vessels to clean up the spill at the accident site. Preliminary inquiries indicate the Tasman Sea tanker, which was bound for Tianjin carrying 80.000 tons of oil, was anchored off the coast when the accident took place.
December 5 – SINGAPORE – A potentially disastrous crude oil spill in Singapore waters was contained to just 350 tonnes when a small general cargo vessel collided with a heavily-laden single-hulled tanker in the middle of the Singapore Straits. Two oil slicks measuring 2.5kmx300m and 2.5kmx500m were spotted in Indonesian waters off the island of Bintan.
February 14 – USA – Clean up operations are underway at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge after an underground corroded pipeline fitting released as many as 100,000 gallons of fuel in the fuel farm area last week. The atoll provides nesting and resting habitat for almost two million seabirds, as well as important habitat for migratory shorebirds, threatened green sea turtles, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals. Since almost all of the spill is underground, however, impact to wildlife has so far been minimal, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.
March 18 – AUSTRALIA – A large oil spill is threatening to pollute the Brisbane River, where up to 1.5 million litres of crude oil has leaked from a ruptured pipeline at the Santos terminal. Emergency crews have contained the oil to creeks and wetlands in an area of about eight hectares in the Lytton industrial estate. Booms further up the water course had not stopped the oil and the outgoing tide was threatening to drag the slick into the river and Moreton Bay.
March 20 – VIETNAM – Thousands of acres of clam and shrimp farms were in danger after a ship carrying 600 tonnes of fuel oil sank in the river in Ho Chi Minh City, environment officials said. The oil slick spread about seven kilometers towards Can Gio district, home of several aqua-cultural farms. It also spread three kilometers towards Vung Tau province, but has yet to hit the beaches there.
May 31 – SWEDEN – The Swedish government accused Denmark of reacting too slowly to the sinking of a Chinese vessel in Danish waters near Sweden’s coast, saying the effects of the ensuing oil spill could have been reduced. The Fu Shan Hai bulk carrier went down in Danish waters between the Swedish coast and Denmark’s Bornholm island, following a collision with a Polish freighter. At least 100 tonnes of oil have already leaked out into the water, and a large oil slick gushing from the vessel has hit Sweden’s popular southeastern coast.
June 12 – SINGAPORE – The MV APL Emerald, a 40.077 ton container ship, spilled about 150 tonnes of fuel oil when it ran aground near Horsburgh Lighthouse, in the eastern approaches of the Singapore Straits. Six anti-pollution craft were involved in the clean-up, and oil booms have been laid around the vessel to contain the spill, which has since been contained. The authorities said there was no chance of any fuel reaching Singapore’s shores, about 46km away.
July 12 – RUSSIA – Russian divers are exploring a sunken Japanese tanker that has begun releasing large quantities of oil and threatens to spark an ecological disaster off the west coast of the Pacific island of Sakhalin. More than two tonnes of fuel have leaked in the past few days from the Takeo Maru, which sank in 1979 off the sea port of Shakhtersk. The leaked oil is floating in the Tatar strait and heading for the coast. With up to 300 tonnes of fuel oil remaining inside the sunken tanker, the Takeo Maru could be an ecological bomb that jeopardizes Russia’s Pacific coastline.
August 13 – PAKISTAN – An oil tanker has broken up off Pakistan’s Arabian Sea port, Karachi, after spilling nearly 10,000 tonnes of oil, sparking fears of lasting damage to local marine life. The Greek-registered MV Tasman Spirit, still carrying 35,000 tonnes of crude oil, split in two around 100 metres from the Karachi port, after running aground on July 27. Officials said that most of the oil had pooled along Clifton beach, the favourite beach resort among Karachi’s 14 million people. A thick oil slick could be seen snaking from the ship to the shores alongside the port, blackening waves and seeping onto sands. Environmentalists predicted the entire 40 kilometre (25 mile) Karachi coastline could be affected, endangering fish, crabs and rare turtles.
January 19 – PHILIPPINES – An oil spill coming from a diving boat that ran aground at the Apo Manor Reef in December, a protected marine park off Mindoro Island, is threatening to destroy one of the world’s best dive sites. Residents of Barangay Siblayan in Occidental Mindoro, a nearby coastal town, said that the M/V Island Explorer has started to leak bunker fuel, endangering the reef which serves as a fish nursery and the major source of livelihood of the surrounding communities. The surrounding waters are abundant with marine fauna and luxuriant coral growth with more than 500 coral species. Marine life includes sharks, stingrays and manta rays.
January 20 – NORWAY – A large oil spill has started spreading from the capsized cargo vessel “Rocknes”, that spilled several thousand litres of oil and bunker fuel along the coastline near the city of Bergen. Close to a thousand seabirds have already been found dead or dying, and clean-up crews are working day and night to clean up affected coastlines and prevent the slick from spreading further. However, due to the immediate search and rescue work that prevented the oil spill response activities from commencing, thick patches of oil have already drifted beyond the reach of the highly sophisticated and efficient Norwegian oil spill response vessels and their equipment.
March 4 – CHINA – Nearly one million people in south-western Sichuan province were without water for drinking and bathing, after chemicals spilled from a factory into an important Yangtze river tributary, state media said. The authorities shut down water supplies after a mixture of synthetic ammonia and nitrogen from the Sichuan General Chemical Factory leaked into the Tuo river in the densely populated province, the Shanghai Morning Post reported. Water supplies for four residential areas – Jianyang, Zizhong, Neijiang and Luzhou – were severely polluted, and could remain cut for several days, the report said.
October 2 – INDONESIA – An oil spill has swamped a chain of tourist islands off the coast of the Indonesian capital, polluting a marine park and hitting businesses in the area, officials and media reports said. Oil began leaking in the region known as the Thousand Islands, and government officials said the spill may have been caused by leaking oil pipes operated nearby by China National Offshore Oil Corp, or by a mishap loading oil onto tankers. The islands have been hit by at least five oil spills in the past year, driving occupancy rates at some resorts to just about 30 per cent, according to Jakarta Tourism Agency. The oil slick has also hurt fishermen and seaweed farmers in the area, officials said.
October 14 – USA – Emergency crews scrambled to control a massive south Sound oil spill that soiled portions of Tacoma’s Commencement Bay and stretched for miles in a bluish-black sheen, threatening pristine beaches and wildlife on Maury and Vashon islands. “We have a major oil spill on our hands,” said the spokesman for the state Department of Ecology. “This is a very large, very complex spill.” Officials didn’t know where it came from, who was responsible or exactly how much oil had been spilled.
November 18 – BRAZIL – Workers are rushing to avert an environmental disaster as an oil slick spread from a cargo ship that exploded and broke in half at a port in southern Brazil. Workers found dead fish and dolphins in the toxic slick of fuel oil, diesel fuel and methanol that leaked from the ship. The slick, which blackened rocks and beaches, stretched for more than 20 kilometres from the port of Paranagua, 625 kilometres south-west of Rio de Janeiro. Environmental officials indefinitely banned many maritime activities and grounded the area’s 3000 fishermen.
November 21 – CANADA – Scientists warn the 44,000 gallon oil spill at an oil platform off Canada’s Newfoundland province could kill up to 100,000 seabirds. The spill, coming at a bad time for the birds, occurred at the Terra Nova offshore oil platform as a result of a malfunction. A few days laster, the slick covered at least 14 square miles. The birds at risk include turrs, dovekeys and black-legged kittiwakes, as well as migrating birds such as shearwaters.
November 26 – USA – A tanker has spilled what was initially estimated as appr. 30,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware River between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, immediately creating a 20-mile slick that threatened fish and birds. But authorities later estimated that it could be as much as 475,000 gallons, leaving a gooey mess that has stained 70 miles of shoreline across three states. More than 1,000 cleanup and emergency responders were called in to skim oil from the surface of the water, and place thousands of feet of barriers to contain the floating slick.
December 7 – CHINA – A collision between two container ships near the mouth of South China’s Pearl River has caused the region’s biggest oil spill in five years. Nearly 450 tonnes are said to have been spilled. Oil was mainly leaking from the fuel tanks of the MSC Ilona, that caused a slick about 17 kilometers long and up to several hundred meters wide. Eight decontamination ships from Guangdong Province are on the spot to deal with the leaking oil, while divers have been dispatched to plug the leak.
December 10 – USA – Thousands of gallons of fuel oil spilling out of a Malaysian freighter that snapped in two off the US state of Alaska have put the Aleutian islands’ fragile ecosystem in jeopardy, fueling fears of an environmental crisis 15 years after the Exxon Valdez disaster. The Selendang Ayu’s 480,000-gallon (1.8 million-litre) stock of thick fuel was leaking into the water off Unalaska Island, killing cormorants and marine life and leaving a thick and dark coating on beaches. Wildlife in the area includes endangered or threatened species such as Steller sea lions and Steller’s eiders as well as western Alaska sea otters, the population of which is dwindling.
December 20 – EGYPT – An oil slick in the Suez Canal is threatening to reach the Mediterranean, port sources said. The spill was caused by a leak in a Kuwaiti tanker carrying 160,000 tonnes of crude, after it collided with a dredger further south on December 14. The slick has tripled in size over a week and now measures around 34 miles (55 kilometres) in length, the source said, adding that about 10,000 cubic metres (2.2 million gallons) had been lost from the tanker. Several aquatic species are threatened by the contamination, and foreign officials charge that the Egyptian authorities have no adequate strategy to face such environmental threats and lack means to combat them.
now, that’s enough for right now –