Oil spills

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Oil spills

Beitrag  meodingu am Do Feb 24, 2011 9:55 pm

Oil spills
Main article: Oil spill
The Exxon Valdez spilled 10,800,000 US gallons (8,993,000 imp gal; 40,880,000 L) of oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound.[63]

Oil spills have devastating effects on the environment. Crude oil contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are very difficult to clean up, and last for years in the sediment and marine environment.[64] Marine species constantly exposed to PAHs can exhibit developmental problems, susceptibility to disease, and abnormal reproductive cycles.

By the sheer amount of oil carried, modern oil tankers must be considered something of a threat to the environment. An oil tanker can carry 2 million barrels (318,000 m3) of crude oil, or 84,000,000 US gallons (69,940,000 imp gal; 318,000,000 L). This is more than six times the amount spilled in the widely known Exxon Valdez incident. In this spill, the ship ran aground and dumped 10,800,000 US gallons (8,993,000 imp gal; 40,880,000 L) of oil into the ocean in March 1989. Despite efforts of scientists, managers, and volunteers, over 400,000 seabirds, about 1,000 sea otters, and immense numbers of fish were killed.[64]

The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation has researched 9,351 accidental spills since 1974.[65] According to this study, most spills result from routine operations such as loading cargo, discharging cargo, and taking on fuel oil.[65] 91% of the operational oil spills were small, resulting in less than 7 tons per spill.[65] Spills resulting from accidents like collisions, groundings, hull failures, and explosions are much larger, with 84% of these involving losses of over 700 tons.[65]

Following the Exxon Valdez spill, the United States passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA-90), which included a stipulation that all tankers entering its waters be double-hulled by 2015. Following the sinkings of the Erika (1999) and Prestige (2002), the European Union passed its own stringent anti-pollution packages (known as Erika I, II, and III), which require all tankers entering its waters to be double-hulled by 2010. The Erika packages are controversial because they introduced the new legal concept of "serious negligence".[66]

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