What causes oil spills?

Answer

One of the primary causes of oil spilling into marine environments in an oil spill is people who are careless or make mistakes, according to the Office of Response and Restoration. Such incidents involve barrages, tankers, refineries, pipelines and storage facilities. Other causes include equipment breakdowns, natural disasters and deliberate acts, such as terrorism, war, vandalism or illegal dumping.

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council lists several reasons that this tanker ran aground in March 1989. They are all acts of carelessness or human mistakes. While tests showed the captain of the Valdez to have alcohol in his system several hours after the accident, the state of Alaska found him not guilty of operating the vessel under the influence of alcohol.

As oil floats on the ocean, it spreads rapidly across the surface to form an oil slick. Eventually, it spreads to form a very thin layer, known as a sheen, with a rainbow-like appearance. Oil spills are harmful to fish, shellfish, birds and marine animals. The oil affects the ability of fur and feathers to repel water and insulate the animals from the elements. Oil is also toxic to animals that ingest it in attempts to clean themselves.

While the Exxon Valdez spill is no longer among the largest 50 oil spills, it affected 1,300 miles of shoreline. Marine biologists estimate it to have killed 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters and 22 killer whales, according to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.

Q&A Related to "What causes oil spills?"
Oil spills may be caused by oil tankers colliding at sea. These oil tankers transport oil from one place to another by sea. If they collide with any ships, rocks or other things out
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Oil pollution is usually caused by accidents. When transporting oil, a malfunction of the equipment can lead to an oil spill and cause major effects on the surrounding environment.
http://www.ask.com/web-answers/Science/Nature/what...
Wildlife surrounding an oil spill is greatly impacted by the event. Seabirds, in particular, are affected when their plumage is soaked through with oil. They then cannot swim properly
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new info: one of the drilling labor hands on deck is sayin that BP TOOK SHORTCUTS BY USING SALT WATER INSTEAD OF HEAVY DRILLING FLUID! here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100526/ap_o
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1 Additional Answer
Ask.com Answer for: what causes oil spills
Oil spills can happen for a variety of reasons, including oil tanker accidents (such as the Exxon Valdez), blowouts of undersea oil wells, or even natural seepage due to tectonic plate shifts.
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