Oil Spill: 40,000 Gallons Leak From Ruptured Line Off The Coast Of Nigeria
Big Oil has a shameful history. That’s why in this series we are highlighting some of its most recent disastrous oil spills and raising awareness of the devastation that will occur if the industry is allowed to drill in the Arctic and off our coasts. Join us in the effort to protect our special places from drilling!
On December 20, 2011, three days after Shell received drilling rights in the Arctic, they announced a spill in the Bonga oil field, 120 km off the coast of Nigeria. A rupture in the export line which transports the oil from the production vessel to the oil tanker is the suspected cause of the oil spill. An astonishing 40,000 barrels of crude oil leaked into the ocean. This is the worst spill for Nigeria in over a decade. While Shell reported that none of the oil reached the coastline, there have been numerous reports from at least 13 villages whose coastlines have in fact been impacted by the oil spill. Fishing has been suspended off the coast by Nigerian officials who have also reported that the oil did indeed reach the shoreline. Shells denial of this fact has angered coastal residents who demand more help in cleaning up their shores.
The oil is also harming the abundant wildlife and bird populations that nest along the coastline. Numerous bird species fly over these waters, dive for fish, and rest on the surface endangering their lives in the presence of oil which can coat their feathers and eventually lead to death. Other marine animals are susceptible to the harmful side effects of ingesting oil, which can poison them and wreak havoc on the underwater food chain. The 1.7 million gallons of oil will linger in the ocean, eventually forming sticky tar balls and washing up on distant shores. The total amount of oil spilled into the ocean can never be fully recovered.