450,000 Gallons Of Crude Oil Spilled As Vessels Collide In Texas Port

The oil and gas industry has many negative effects on the natural environment, but none are quite so direct as crude oil spilling into coastal ocean waters.

Last Saturday, an oil tanker and a towing vessel collided in the waters of Port Arthur, Texas, depositing up to 450,000 of oil from the tanker and polluting up to two square miles of coastline and ocean water.

The Coast Guard said the crash left a 15-by-8-foot hole in the tanker and damaged one of its oil tanks, resulting in the spill.

Although residents of the nearby port town were evacuated for over seven hours as authories struggled to evaluate and contain the spill, the consquences for surrounding coastal ecosystems and wildlife has yet to be determined.

According to Petty Officer Richard Brahm, the ship’s crew members said they pumped 69,000 barrels from the damaged tank that carried 80,000 barrels, so they have 11,000 barrels – about 450,000 gallons – that they can’t account for (Huffington Post).

Although this is a relatively small oil spill when compared to the distrous Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, which deposited around 11 million gallons of cruide oil into Prince William Sound, it can still have disastrous effects for fish, birds, and humans that come into contact with the contaminated water.

Although authorites are already claiming that the environmental effects of the Texas spill have been minimal, large quantities of oil are in no way biodegradable, and can wreak havoc on an ecosystem for many years to come.

National Geographic reports that even now, 15 years after the Exxon Valdez spill, evidence of damaged wildlife is still noticable in the Prince William Sound.

“Among the animal species that have not recovered are common loons, harbor seals, harlequin ducks, and Pacific herring. Sea otters, which eat clams buried underground, are particularly affected by the subsurface oil. The clams may be clean, but sea otters may get oil on their fur, which requires energy to cope with.”

Related Petitions:

Tell Chevron to Clean Up Its Mess in the Amazon

Help Prevent Another Exxon Valdez Spill!

Image: gibraltarnewsonline.com
Found at: www.heatingoil.com


Elaine Dixon
Elaine Dixon9 years ago

good story

Gordon G.
Gordon G9 years ago

Where would fine dollars go? It should go to a fund to clean up our oceans.

Kurt Valentine

They should get an enormous fine.

Maryam Afshar
Maryam A9 years ago

they should get a big fine.

Tamara Bannister
Tamara B9 years ago

So, so sad.

Jessica S.
Jessica S9 years ago


Kris J.
Kristina J9 years ago

They are making 30-40 billion dollars in profit every year, anyway. I don't think 1 million dollars for every barrel spilled is at all excessive. Of course, there has to be a clause that they cannot raise prices to pay their fines off. If they can't afford it, then quit spilling it. But until I become queen of the world, this will never happen.

Amanda H.
Amanda H9 years ago

Interesting info, yet still depressing. If only more people would realize if we swiched to alternative, clean fuels we could avoid things like this. Hopefully soon they will. These oil companies need to clean up their mess and not expect someone to do it for them. It was there fault, in the first place, the ship is even in the water. They need to check and then double check these barrels to make sure they are secure. We cannot risk it anymore, the environment is paying for their neglegence.

Lori K.
Lori K9 years ago

There is no way to effectively clean up this kind of disaster. The environment takes a huge beating that is practically unrecoverable. That being said, OF COURSE THE OIL COMPANIES SHOULD PAY FOR THE CLEAN UP! THEY ARE THE CAUSE OF IT!

If they have to pay the entire cost of cleanup each time they spill oil, they might actually begin to be more careful. It's not because they care about the environment, of course, but if their holy grail (money) is imperiled they will have to do something.

Lilith Graves
Lilith Graves9 years ago

Thanks for the info.