The Deepwater Horizon explosion occurred on the 20th of April, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. An explosion aboard the offshore drilling unit was a result of a fire that ignited on the platform. The fire and resulting explosion which took the lives of 11 persons who were on board caused the vessel to eventually sink, releasing millions of gallons of crude oil into the ocean. The explosion proved to be the largest marine oil spill in the world as well as the worst environmental disaster in US history due to the number of fatalities, the amount of crude oil that was released into the ocean, the effects of the crude oil being released into the ocean on the environment and marine life as well as many other problems that arose.
The following literature review will discuss the major issues correlated with the Deepwater Horizon Incident and the effects of its occurrence.
In an assessment done by experts of BP, it was concluded that approximately 1,100 shoreline miles were affected by the spilled oil, requiring some amount of mechanical and manual methods of cleaning.
The extent of the effects of the spillage on the environment was described in an article published by Keshav Saini, BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill- Causes and Effects (26th May, 2010). The article says that the oil spill ”has ruined the Gulf of Mexico” It then goes on to state that the oil spilled would prevent oxygen from marine life which would cause a serious threat marine life, including many endangered species including whales, turtles and others. Figures taken from the article provides further insight as to the volume of oil that was spilled and the area it covered. 1,050,000 -4,200,000 gallons of oil were being leaked per day which covered from 2,500- 9,000 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico.
According to Wikipedia article, Environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (1.4- Impact on Marine life), prior to the oil spill fishermen and scientists observed large numbers of marine animals with deformities. It states that after the spill, 0.1 percent of fish in the Gulf of Mexico were found to have lesions or sore. It cites that a report from the University of Florida had stated that in locations 20 percent of fish had lesions and in other locations this figure was found to be 50 percent. This is believed to be a result of toxins released by the oil into the oceans over time after the spill.
A fact sheet published by the Operational Science Advisory Team (OSAT-1) (released 17th December, 2010) said that no deposits of liquid-phase oil were discovered offshore after approximately 17,000 water and sediment samples were taken from the deepwater and offshore zones and assessed. The fact sheet also stated that of the samples taken, none of them exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) limits for protection of human health for dispersants of polyacrilic hydrocarbons consistent with the oil spilled after 3rd August, 2010. However, around 1 percent of the samples proceeding 3rd August, 2010 exceeded the limit. These findings however contradict the opinions of some scientists. An article by Bloomberg News (17th August, 2010) suggests that it is believed by a group of scientists that about 79 percent of the oil spilled still remained under the surface in the ocean.
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