Photos of oiled seabirds and otters have become spill clichés but animals were indeed hurt by the Exxon Valdez disaster. An estimated 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters and 300 harbor seals were killed in the immediate aftermath, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Among the oil spills occurred in the last five decades, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill remains a prominent one. In the accident that took place almost 30 years ago, over 11 million gallons of crude oil was released into the waters of the Gulf of Alaska, hurting the ecosystem badly as it killed hundreds of thousands of species.
One may also ask, how did the Exxon Valdez oil spill affect wildlife? Approximately 11 million gallons of oil spilled into the Sound’s rich and productive waters. The oil killed and injured seabirds, sea otters, harbor seals, bald eagles, orcas and other wildlife. Eventually, oil from the spill affected more than 1,000 miles of Alaska’s remote and rugged coastline.
Moreover, how big was the Exxon Valdez oil spill?
The Exxon Valdez oil spill was a manmade disaster that occurred when Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker owned by the Exxon Shipping Company, spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989.
How many birds die from oil spills?
The Daily Caller reports that “in the time since the 2010 BP oil spill, some 2.9 million birds have been killed by wind turbines.”
Is there still oil from the Exxon Valdez?
A small portion of the oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill still lingers in patches beneath Prince William Sound, Alaska, beaches. However, this and other studies suggests the remaining oil is sequestered, or buried, and currently is not posing a risk to the coastal and marine ecosystem.
How did they clean up Exxon Valdez?
Skimmers, which collect water and then remove oil from the surface, were deployed over 24 hours after the spill. The skimmers got clogged with oil and kelp, so this was ineffective. Dispersants, which are chemicals that breakdown oil, were released into the water.
Who was at fault for the Exxon Valdez oil spill?
Hazelwood, who was found guilty of negligence for his role in the massive oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989, successfully argued that he was entitled to immunity from prosecution because he had reported the oil spill to authorities 20 minutes after the ship ran aground.
What did the Exxon Valdez hit?
On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez had just entered Alaska’s Prince William Sound, after departing the Valdez Marine Terminal full of crude oil. At 12:04 am, the ship struck a reef, tearing open the hull and releasing 11 million gallons of oil into the environment.
What happened to Exxon Valdez?
After the Big Spill, What Happened to the Ship Exxon Valdez? On July 30, 1989, four months after it ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and caused the then-largest oil spill in U.S. waters, the crippled Exxon Valdez entered dry dock at National Steel and Shipbuilding in San Diego—its original birthplace.
How do you clean up oil spills?
Booms and skimmers: Booms contain the oil so that skimmers can collect it. Booms are floating barriers placed around the oil or whatever is leaking the oil. Skimmers can be boats, vacuum machines, sponges or oil-absorbent ropes that skim spilled oil from the water’s surface within the booms.
How does oil harm wildlife?
Oil destroys the insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals, such as sea otters, and the water repellency of a bird’s feathers, thus exposing these creatures to the harsh elements. Without the ability to repel water and insulate from the cold water, birds and mammals will die from hypothermia.
Why do birds die in oil spills?
When oil sticks to a bird’s feathers, it causes them to mat and separate, impairing waterproofing and exposing the animal’s sensitive skin to extremes in temperature. This can result in hypothermia, meaning the bird becomes cold, or hyperthermia, which results in overheating.
How many oil spills occur each year?
Thousands of oil spills occur in U.S. waters each year, but most are small in size, spilling less than one barrel of oil. Yet since the iconic 1969 oil well blowout in Santa Barbara, California, there have been at least 44 oil spills, each over 10,000 barrels (420,000 gallons), affecting U.S. waters.
Does oil spill damage last forever?
Although the active cleanup efforts for both these environmental tragedies are officially over, oil is still being found in the environment. Crusty balls filled with soft, gooey oil known as “tarballs” continue to wash up onshore months or years later after a spill.
How did the Exxon Valdez affect humans?
It contaminated 1,300 miles of coastline with 250,000 barrels or 11 million gallons of oil. Direct contact with the oil slick killed at least 140 bald eagles, 302 harbor seals, 2,800 sea otters, and 250,00 seabirds within a few days. Four people died as part of the clean-up efforts.
What happened to Exxon Valdez in 1989?
On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez grounded on Bligh Reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, rupturing its hull and spilling nearly 11 million gallons of Prudhoe Bay crude oil into a remote, scenic, and biologically productive body of water.
How can we prevent oil spills?
Small Spills Prevention Checklist Tighten bolts on your engine to prevent oil leaks. Replace cracked or worn hydraulic lines and fittings before they fail. Outfit your engine with an oil tray or drip pan. Create your own bilge sock out of oil absorbent pads to prevent oily water discharge.
Has Prince William Sound recovered?
It took a quarter century, but the northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) living in Alaska’s Prince William Sound have finally recovered from the effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).