Freight Facts and Figures 2013
Table 5-18. Number and Volume of Oil Spills In and Around U.S. Waterways: 1990, 2000, and 2009-2011
Water quality is affected by oil spills from vessels and pipelines transporting crude oil and petroleum products and by facilities, such as offshore drilling units and platforms. In 2011, vessel-related spills accounted for 51 percent of total gallons spilled. While the amount of oil spilled each year varies considerably, U.S. Coast Guard data show an overall decrease since 1990, with the exception in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina caused numerous spills and in 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon mobile offshore drilling unit sank after an explosion and fire, leaving a well open to discharge crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The well discharged 206.6 million gallons of crude oil over nearly three months.
|Incidents||Gallons spilled||Incidents||Gallons spilled||Incidents||Gallons spilled||Incidents||Gallons spilled||Incidents||Gallons spilled|
|Total, all spills||8,177||7,915,007||8,354||1,431,370||3,304||211,601||3,008||207,712,793||3,065||210,271|
|Vessel sources, total||2,485||6,387,158||5,560||1,033,643||1,645||126,658||1,508||894,934||1,531||107,663|
|Nonvessel sources, total||2,584||1,408,472||1,645||373,761||979||54,276||1,008||206,809,141||1,159||94,759|
|All other non-vessels4||148||32,242||566||45,136||36||916||105||206,582,872||117||3,605|
1The largest spill in U. S. waters began on April 20, 2010 with an explosion and fire on the mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) Deepwater Horizon. Subsequently, the MODU sank, leaving an open exploratory well to discharge crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months. The most commonly accepted spill amount from the well is approximately 206.6 million gallons.
2Other vessels include commercial vessels, fishing boats, freight barges, freight ships, industrial vessels, oil recovery vessels, passenger vessels, unclassified public vessels, recreational boats, research vessels, school ships, tow and tug boats, mobile offshore drilling units, offshore supply vessels, publicly owned tank and freight ships, as well as vessels not fitting any particular class (unclassified).
3Facilities include mobile offshore drilling units, offshore supply vessels, offshore platforms, designated waterfront facilities, fixed platforms, mobile facilities, and municipal facilities.
4All other non-vessels include aircraft, land vehicles, railroad equipment, bridges, factories, fleeting areas, industrial facilities, marinas, common carriers, sewer drainage, shipyard/repair facilities, and shorelines.
U.S. Coast Guard, Polluting Incidents In and Around U.S. Waters, A Spill/Release Compendium: 1969-2011 (Washington, DC: December 2012), tables Number of Spills by Source and Volume of Spills by Source (Gallons).
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