The Impact of Oil Spills on the Marine Environment

Oil SpillAn oil spill in the ocean is a catastrophe that disrupts the lives of many marine creatures. Crude oil mined from offshore drilling sites is a major risk to the ecology. As a major water pollutant, an oil spill is difficult to contain and to clean.

Due to the difficulty of mitigating oil spill disasters, proper maintenance of oil lines and drilling machinery is crucial. The Underwater Construction Corporation suggests on-site inspections by qualified inspectors and technicians. To perform maintenance and repairs, technicians must dive under the surface of the water to assess high-risk areas properly.

Thorough inspection of oil drilling machinery and oil pipes prevents deadly oil spills. It is also more cost-efficient for the oil company, as it prevents losses. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strict regulations.

Oil and its impact on ocean surface dwellers

Oil is less dense than water and will always float to the surface. As such, it affects animals both above and below the water.

Marine dwelling birds such as pelicans, albatrosses, and seagulls are greatly affected by oil spills. When they swim on the surface or dive for fish, the oil clings to their feathers. Their feathers lose their insulating qualities, exposing their skin to extreme temperatures.

Birds with oily feathers are unable to fly, exposing them to predators at sea. They are also unable to dive, leading to starvation.

Oil spills also affect animals that live just under the ocean surface. Sea turtles, dolphins, seals, and whales periodically break the water surface to breathe. Oil clogs their nostrils or blowholes, leading to suffocation and death.

Oil and its effects on fish

Oil spills also have disastrous effects on fish populations. While they are not receiving immediate exposure to the oil on the surface, ingesting the pollutant leads to several health problems.

Fish that ingest oil experience a host of problems ranging from reduced growth to enlarged livers. Their heart and their respiratory systems also become affected. It also leads to barrenness and weak offspring. Repeated exposure to oil clogs the gills and erodes the fins. Oil spills create thousands of fish kills every year.

Oil drilling and transportation companies must take special care to contain crude oil. Preventing oil spills saves thousands of marine animals from dying of oil exposure.