The Louisiana oil spill has been officially declared as the worst oil spill in history of the United States. Unlike most such accidents, which are usually caused by an oil tank being damaged, the leak generated by the BP platform explosion seems unstoppable. And while accusations and solutions are trying to make sense out of this controversial case, thousands of birds and sea animals die suffocated by the oil layer. Dolphins, pelicans, crabs and sea turtles are only few of the species whose existence is being jeopardized by the oil spill, not to mention the fact that some of the best Florida beaches are now covered in oil residue and tar balls. The only hope is for the Deepwater Horizon spill to be stopped before becoming the worst spill ever: and judging by its predecessors, statistics look quite gloomy:
The Gulf War spill from 1991 is by far the biggest in history, and the fact that, rather than being a human error, it represented a tactical (or vindicative) action makes it even worse. When the Iraqi army was forced to retreat form the Persian Gulf, they broke the oil installations, thus releasing 8 million barrels into the water.
The Amaco Caidz is oil industry’s Titanic: in March, 1978, this huge tanker was crossing the English Channel, when it got caught in a sudden storm and broke in two as a result of serious damage. After releasing around 69 million gallons of oil into the water, the ship was finally sunk, and it is now resting on the bottom of the sea.
The golden state of California also has its own history with oil disasters. When the Union Oil platform started leaking oil in January 1969, the strong currents of the pacific Ocean immediately carried the 80 000 barrels of oil on shore, generating one of the biggest ecological disasters in the state’s history. It is estimated that approximately 10000 birds perished as a result of the accident, one for each 8 barrels of oil.
Trinidad and Tobago
The tropical paradise of Trinidad and Tobago faced one of the worst oil spills in history when, in the summer of 1979, two vessels collided in the vicinity of the islands and released no less then 287 000 oil tons in the emerald waters of the Caribbean Sea. The biohazard was amplified by the human tragedy, as 26 crew members have lost their lives in the explosion.
The month of October seems to be fatidical for Russians: on the 1st of October, 1995, a pipeline in the proximity of the Arctic Circle broke and all the 102 000 tons of oil spilled over the frozen lands. The disaster reached its peak when the waters on the nearby river Kolva collected the oil, resulting in one of the biggest catastrophes of the last decade.