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Oil Spills

A Rusting Oil Tanker Off the Coast of Yemen Is an Environmental Catastrophe Waiting to Happen. Can Anyone Prevent It?


Viviane Menezes, a marine scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, has described the Red Sea as being like a “big lagoon” with “everything connected.” An oil spill at any time of year would be disastrous, she says, but seasonally variable weather and tidal patterns make contingency planning difficult. In the summer, Red Sea currents would drag an oil slick south, threatening Eritrea and Djibouti, and potentially entering the Gulf of Aden. In winter, circular currents would swirl more of the oil north.

Researchers discover an immense hydrocarbon cycle in the world’s ocean

Hydrocarbons and petroleum are almost synonymous in environmental science. After all, oil reserves account for nearly all the hydrocarbons we encounter. But the few hydrocarbons that trace their origin to biological sources may play a larger ecological role than scientists originally suspected.

Shipping-Gate: Why Toxic VLSFO Fuel Is Such A Danger For Global Shipping


This chemical signature also reveals what would happen if that oil was ever leaked into the natural environment or made contact with humans. A process known as Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) is what is used, as the U.S. laboratory WHOI is internationally renowned for.

A checkup for the oceans reveals threats to human health

The health of the world’s ocean is in serious decline—and human health is suffering as a result. A comprehensive report from the Monaco Commission and co-authored by several WHOI researchers investigates the impacts of ocean pollution and recommends actions to safeguard human health.

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What did we learn from the Deepwater Horizon disaster?

Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN)
chemical and engineering news

All existing tests on the efficacy of dispersants had been conducted on the surface of water, says Elizabeth Kujawinski, a chemical oceanographer at WHOI. There was no guarantee that they would perform the same way in the crushing depths of the ocean.

As if Yemen Needed More Woes, a Decrepit Oil Tanker Threatens Disaster


The task at hand is to keep a bad situation from getting worse, said Christopher M. Reddy, a marine scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “We have a problem, it has a potential for harm, so how do we do it to create the least amount of damage?” he said.

Scientists Discover A New Material For Cleaning Up Oil Spills


In the middle of a battle like an oil spill, you want to have a very predictable material that is easily deployed and creates no uncertainty, says Chris Reddy, at WHOI. And these natural products carry just a lot more uncertainty. Despite this uncertainty, he says, maybe hair can teach us how to make better materials. And Georgia Tech’s David Hu says the study made him look at hair differently.

1969 Fuel Barge Florida

Location: Buzzards Bay, off West Falmouth, Mass. Date: September 16, 1969 Lat./Long.: 41°35’57.60″N, 70°41’47.88″W Material spilled: No. 2 fuel oil Amount spilled: 189,000…

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1975 Oil Barge Bouchard 65

Location: Buzzards Bay, near Cape Cod Canal Date: October 9, 1974 Lat./Long.: 41°37’58.10″N, 70°43’59.09″W Material spilled: Diesel fuel Amount spilled: 11,000 to 37,000…

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1976 M/V Argo Merchant

Location: 29 miles southeast of Nantucket Island Date: December 15, 1976 Lat./Long.: 41°1’58.8″N, 69° 27’0″W Material spilled: No. 6 Fuel Oil and…

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1979 Ixtoc I Oil Well

Location: Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico Date: June 3, 1979 to March 23, 1980 Lat./Long.: 19°24’29.42″N, 92°19’36.64″W Material spilled: Crude oil…

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1989 Supertanker Exxon Valdez

Location: Prince William Sound, Alaska Date: March 23, 1989 Lat./Long.: 60°34’23.53″N, 147°17’9.94″W Material spilled: North Slope crude oil Amount spilled: 10.8 million gallons…

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