What Happens After Oil Spill Disasters?

An oil spill is certainly one of the things that seafaring companies dread. Apart from the fact that it is a costly incident, tons of paperwork and a tedious investigation is needed to determine the cause of the incident.

There are several reasons how an oil spill can happen. It can either be caused by human error, mechanical failure, natural disasters, or deliberate acts. Also, more often than not, involved in these incidents are tanker ships, barges, pipelines, rigs, and storage facilities.

With several possible causes, it can be concluded that whether one likes it or not, oil spills happen. Thus, there is a need to establish a better and faster response to maritime ecological disasters such as this.

Oil floats and spreads out rapidly across a water surface, which can be harmful to marine life. Being exposed to this harmful chemical can either injure or kill any living species. In fact, an example would be the incident of the Exxon Valdez in 1989. It was the most notorious oil spill history where it released over 11 million gallons of crude oil in Alaska. Although nature has recuperated, a scientist discovered that there were still oil found underground which can still do some damage.

Various local, state, federal government agencies, and volunteer organizations work hand in hand to respond to incidents like this. Cleaning up an oil spill can be quite the challenge. An initiative this big would really need all the help it can get.

There are numerous tools that people use to clean up an oil spill. Here are some:


Floating barriers placed around where the spill originated then collects oil. It is a very popular method of controlling an oil spill situation.


Boats used to scoop oil from water surface, however, this is effective for lighter oils only.

Chemical dispersants and biological agents

Breaks oil down into its chemical constituents. It involves using fertilizers that help hasten microorganisms’ growth. This then results in the diffusion of oil components.

In situ burning (ISB)

Controlled burning of freshly spilled oil before it can spread. The disadvantage is that the exhaust releases toxins that can also cause damage to the environment.

Methods used during this unfortunate incident would depend on its circumstances. Weather, type of oil and its amount, distance from the shore, type of area, type of habitat, and the like are taken into consideration.

All seafaring companies have a duty not only to their clients and their employees. They also have a duty to protect the environment. And if such an incident does occur, it is also their duty to help.

Availing a marine insurance can help with these costly unfortunate events. Preparing for these kinds of situations is paramount as thousands of lives depend on it. That’s why it’s not only highly recommended but required for all seafaring businesses.