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Old 24 April 2007, 08:18   #11
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Hardly out at sea - it all would have ended up on a beach sooner or later

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Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
3500 tonnes out at sea in rough weather is better than 500 tons directly onto a beach!!!
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Old 24 April 2007, 08:53   #12
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Not if they had towed it out instead of in. Remember they were storm condtions which breaks up oil rapidly.

The Braer tanker that sank in the Shetlands discharged 85,000 tons of crude into the sea - a little bit more than the Napoli was carrying. Because the sea was so rough an oil slick never formed and it wasn't as bad as it should have been.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/...tle-harm-.html

It was madness to risk an evironmentally sensative coastline the way they did. Oil out at sea is much better than on those beaches!!!
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Old 24 April 2007, 11:17   #13
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Not if they had towed it out instead of in. Remember they were storm condtions which breaks up oil rapidly.

The Braer tanker that sank in the Shetlands discharged 85,000 tons of crude into the sea - a little bit more than the Napoli was carrying. Because the sea was so rough an oil slick never formed and it wasn't as bad as it should have been.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/...tle-harm-.html

It was madness to risk an evironmentally sensative coastline the way they did. Oil out at sea is much better than on those beaches!!!
Where do you think it goes when it "breaks up......rapidly" or in this "Out at sea" place you talk of?

Just interested from an environmental point of view?

Orve

Orve.
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Old 24 April 2007, 12:36   #14
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Where do you think it goes when it "breaks up......rapidly" or in this "Out at sea" place you talk of?

Just interested from an environmental point of view?

Orve

Orve.
The sea is a very big place - remember 2/3 of the Earth is covered in the stuff.

There are numerous process at work - from oxidisation caused by sunlight to biodegradation caused by organisms in the sea.

It is oil slicks that do the real damage to birdlife etc. if the slicks are dispered naturally they tend not to cause too many problems.
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Old 25 April 2007, 11:11   #15
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It is oil slicks that do the real damage to birdlife etc. if the slicks are dispered naturally they tend not to cause too many problems.
Not too many problems to the birds.....

However other marine life really suffers. Once oil disperses, i.e. the molecules lose their bond to each other, they dissipate into the water column. Long term studies, for example from the Exxon Valdize and the early signs of the Sea Empress, indicate that this part of the carbon is ingested by plankton and therefore enters the marine food chain. Molluscs are particularly vulnerable, and show signs of tainting for years to come.

Due to the nature of the area in which she would have broken up if not beached, i.e. the tidal gate for the English Channel, the oil would have remained in quite a small area and been a problem for a long period of time, albeit not visibly to the public, until the Bretagne fisheries and Cornish fisheries started suffering. After all, don't forget a lobster we eat is between 8 and 10 years old, so tainting will take a long time to show.

The decision to beach was based, as someone said rightly, on the iminent rish of break-up if towed further to a port of repair. Tidal and weather conditions had already dictated that Brest was not a port option, although I am unsure as to why Falmouth was rejected. The decision to tow to beach was made by the MCA in consultation with CROSS/ Prefet Maritime over on the other side.

Simon
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Old 25 April 2007, 13:32   #16
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I seem to remember that more environmental damage was caused by the clean up operation after Exon Valdez, than by the oil, though that was dreadful because the oil came ashore in a slick.

CP is right about the Braer. The fish farmers escaped disaster. I thought that, once the oil broke up, it was quickly broken down by bacteria.

What's meant by 'tainting'? Will the lobster, ten years after the event, taste of oil? Are the mussels poisonous after that time? I just wonder, you see, whether the long term effects of oil dumped (for whatever reason) in deep water are as catastrophic as many environmentalists will have us believe. After all, thousands and thousands of tons of the most noxious chemicals are dumped in the Atlantic all the time from the Mid Atlantic Ridge (and presumably other oceans have similar mechanisms). The oceans cope. Oil, especially crude, is just as 'natural' as that stuff.

The research in Alaska presumably was in the coastal waters where the oil came ashore. There still seem to be lots of giant crabs in the Bering Sea.

I understand that pouring oil onto beaches, or even in deep the ocean is a most undesirable thing to do, but I'm not convinced that the effects are as catastrophic as many environmentalists would have us believe. In the short term yes, if you happen to be a cormorant or guillemot or a mussel. In the long term, which may be longer than the average human lifetime for we are short term too, I'm yet to be convinced.
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Old 25 April 2007, 17:42   #17
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. Molluscs are particularly vulnerable, and show signs of tainting for years to come.
Scary thought.

We remember the huge clean up following the Erika disaster off S. Brittany a few years ago. Worrying to think that even though all visible signs of damage have vanished, the region is particularly proud of (& popular because of) its seafood...

K & P

Cool photos BTW Simon
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Old 25 April 2007, 18:11   #18
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Not too many problems to the birds.....

However other marine life really suffers. Once oil disperses, i.e. the molecules lose their bond to each other, they dissipate into the water column. Long term studies, for example from the Exxon Valdize and the early signs of the Sea Empress, indicate that this part of the carbon is ingested by plankton and therefore enters the marine food chain. Molluscs are particularly vulnerable, and show signs of tainting for years to come.

Due to the nature of the area in which she would have broken up if not beached, i.e. the tidal gate for the English Channel, the oil would have remained in quite a small area and been a problem for a long period of time, albeit not visibly to the public, until the Bretagne fisheries and Cornish fisheries started suffering. After all, don't forget a lobster we eat is between 8 and 10 years old, so tainting will take a long time to show.

The decision to beach was based, as someone said rightly, on the iminent rish of break-up if towed further to a port of repair. Tidal and weather conditions had already dictated that Brest was not a port option, although I am unsure as to why Falmouth was rejected. The decision to tow to beach was made by the MCA in consultation with CROSS/ Prefet Maritime over on the other side.

Simon
Every major oil spill that becomes a disaster happens when it hits the shore. Out at sea it doesn't cause many problems. The Exxon Valdez spill happened in very sheltered waters. There was little wave action to break it up and the waters were very confined.

Yes plankton take up the carbon - on the form of CO2 made when the oil breaks up - this is a natural procees that goes on all the time.

Even Friends of the Earth say that shelffish may be contaminated for up to 5 years - not that long really and they often quote material best suited to their agenda.

Remember shellfish consumed by humans tends to be collected from the SHORE - that it why it is so important to keep the oil away from it in the first place!!!

Just because a team of so called experts makes a decision doesn't always make it right.....
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Old 25 April 2007, 18:20   #19
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The decision to beach was based, as someone said rightly, on the iminent rish of break-up if towed further to a port of repair. Tidal and weather conditions had already dictated that Brest was not a port option, although I am unsure as to why Falmouth was rejected. The decision to tow to beach was made by the MCA in consultation with CROSS/ Prefet Maritime over on the other side.
Apparently.... the plan was to make for Portland as it's considered a shallow harbour. By all accounts Plymouth and Falmouth are too deep and if the worst did happen, the consequences and following clean up would have been considerably more difficult etc.

I have a question though... instead of heading east across Lyme Bay in the SW storm, surely they'd have been better of sitting it out in the relative shelter of Torbay and then continuing once it had blown over...???

or was that not a option....??
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Old 26 April 2007, 08:32   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
Every major oil spill that becomes a disaster happens when it hits the shore. Out at sea it doesn't cause many problems. The Exxon Valdez spill happened in very sheltered waters. There was little wave action to break it up and the waters were very confined.

Yes plankton take up the carbon - on the form of CO2 made when the oil breaks up - this is a natural procees that goes on all the time.

Even Friends of the Earth say that shelffish may be contaminated for up to 5 years - not that long really and they often quote material best suited to their agenda.

Remember shellfish consumed by humans tends to be collected from the SHORE - that it why it is so important to keep the oil away from it in the first place!!!

Just because a team of so called experts makes a decision doesn't always make it right.....
Think about it this way...

If the ship had sunk, it probably wouldn't have released all the oil in one go. The potential then would have been for a sunken oil tank to release at some unspecified point in the future from the seabed. Given this would be 50-80m down mid channel, it would not be easy to recover. There are plenty of wrecks around the world where this is an issue.

Also, as some people have alluded to earlier in this thread, the channel does not really count as 'out at sea' with regards to oil spills.

IMHO beaching was the best bet (it was a tough call with no nice options) - we can clean up beaches without a great deal of trouble, recover the rubbish and tidy it up within a year. A lot of people dont really understand the implications of food chain contamination, and the effect not only on the marine food chain, but the fact that humans eat a lot of it too. There are already enough nasty chemicals entering the food chain without adding in an extra hint of hydrocarbon!

Having said all that, it would have made a great mid-channel dive site
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