Oil Pollution


Oil Pollution in Turkey and Accidents

The word petroleum comes from the union of ‘petra’ – stone in latin and ‘oleum’ – oil in latin (Petra + oleum= Petroleum).

Oil is usually thought as specific fuels (diesel, diesel fuel, fuel oil, gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil) by everyone but the word oil indicates all crude oil in its natural form under porous and non-porous rocks. Locations with the presence of oil are called traps (reservoir rocks).

Oil has been discovered in 1859 by Edwin Drake at a depth of 23m in Pennsylvania for the first time. Bitumen has been used for caulking ships in Mesopotamia. Plinius (23-79 BC, naturalist, writer of 37 volumes of Naturalis Historia) used coal tar for coughing, bleeding and rheumatism – a practice that lasted until today. Bible tells of bitumen-covered Noah’s Ark. Russia distilled oil in the XVIIth century. First oil well in Turkey was opened by the European Petroleum Company in 1897 in Horadere (Hoşdere, between Şarköy-Mürefte) and filled two barrels per day. Oil was produced in Hasan kale, Katranlı and Kursat during the Russian occupation of 1916-1917. First economic production took place in 1947 in Raman. Turkey’s oil reserves are calculated at 1 billion tons.

Following Oil Products have been used in the past: Kerosene in 1816 to 1885, petroleum in 1885 to 1986 for industrial oiling, gasoline his car fuel in 1900 to 1914.  Artificial oil began in 1940 with Kraking.  Oil production went from 23 m of depth to 3000 m of depth.  The 2500-ton capacity tankers of 1886 are now 500,000 tons.

Various theories exist about the origins of oil. Oil is in fact a bacterial decomposition product from the remains of various organisms (plant and animal).

Some hydrocarbons found in oil are synthesized by marine organisms.  These biogenic compounds are limited in quantity, hence, easily separated from oil.  Oil hydrocarbons come from biogenic reactions. C15, C18, C27 and C33 n-alkanes, abundant in oil, are synthesized by marine and land animals.  Oil formation requires appropriate storage, redactor, environmental conditions and temperature for the organic material.  Oil components are formed deep underground in high temperatures and high pressure.  Marine organic compounds are formed by oil acids synthesized by phytoplanktons, maturing into oil and gasoline in time.  Cellulose and lignine matures into gasoline and coal.

Natural gases in oil are methane, ethane, propane and butane.  The liquid part is crude oil.  In low molecular density is gasoline and kerosene, important hydrocarbons paraffin and naphthalene and distillation budget asphaltenes forming inert component asphalt.  Nitrogen and sulfur components become undesirable nitrate as sulphuric acid causing acid rains.

Physical and Chemical Properties of Oil
Physical properties of oil are density, volume, viscosity, fluorescence, colour and smell, caloric value, and flash point.

Oil’s density is expressed by density at 60oF (15,5oC) and 1 atmospheric pressure. It fluctuates between 0.67-1.085 depending on its chemical composition. Oil’s density is affected by its hydrocarbon percentage, gas percentage, percentage, percentage of heavy carbons like resin and tar. Defined by Gravity: (A.P.I. Gravity) = 141.5 /specific density 60oF-131.5.

A barrel of oil is 159 litres. Oil’s volume is affected by temperature, pressure and dissolved materials.

Oil’s viscosity and reflective index depends on its composition. Viscosity increases as density and proportion of heavy components increase. Viscosity decreases as temperature and proportion of gas components increase. Low-density oils have small reflective indices.

Fluorescence indicates propensity to show yellow, green and blue fluorescence under UV light. This property helps easily determine trace amounts of oil.

Oil is greenish in reflected light and pale yellow, red and sometimes black in transmitted (bending) light. Colour gets darker as specific gravity increases. Light hydrocarbon oils have a pleasant smell but unsaturated hydrocarbons, sulphur and nitrogen compuonds smell putrid.

Oil’s caloric value is inversely proportional to its specific gravity.

Oil’s point of ignition is the moment it inflames upon contact with fire. The point of ignition fluctuates between 15 and 120°C and has a heating power of approximately 10,500 kcal/kgs. This is important for the determination of product proportions distilled at different temperatures.

Chemically speaking, oil is a hydrocarbon compound. It includes gas, liquid and solid hydrocarbons in its structure.  If the carbon amount is less than C4, it may be found as gas, C2 – C15 as liquid and C16 – C60 a solid. Its elemental composition is 82-87% carbon, 11.7-14.7% hydrogen, 0.1-5.5% sulphur, %0.1-1.5 nitrogen, %0.1-4.5 oxygen and %0.1-1.2 organic materials.

Oil hydrocarbons are divided into 2 main groups; aliphatic and aromatic.  Main component of these compounds is isoprene; main component of various elements forming plants and animals.  Important hydrocarbons for oil are; Paraffin or methane (CnH2n+2); Olefin (Naphtene) (CnH2n); Aromatic compounds (CnH2n-6) (Aromatics) ve Acetylene (CnH2n-2) series.


Crude Oil
Crude oil is fractioned depending on its boiling temperature (b.t) and classified by its area of use afterwards.

Boiling Temperature (b.t)                  Carbon Atoms (C)
Petroleum gases         30                               3-4
Light gasoline         30-140                           4-6
Naphta                   120-175                         7-10
Kerosene               165-200                        10-16
Diesel                    175-365                        15-20
Fuel oil and the rest  350                              20+

Oil Compounds in the Sea
Sources of marine oil are tanker accidents, ballast water discharge, marine traffic, refineries (precautions have decreased the amount from 70 kg in 1984 to 1 kg) oil stevedores, marine oil production, land-based pollution, industry, and car’s exhaust the gases falling with rainwater.

Upon arrival, oil is found as dissolved, distributed and absorbed in sediment, coasts and rocks.

Oil perseveres in the sea for a long time with volatile components vaporizing or going through microbial degradation.  Oil alkans remain in the sediment for two years.  Branching aliphatic hydrocarbon compounds are slower to degrade than non-branching compounds.  Oil falls apart within the sediment by transferring into marine water and by microbial degradation for the large part.  Degradation is slower for aromatic compounds than their aliphatic counterparts and they degrade in a different manner.  Oil also becomes concentrated on rocky areas around caves, marine organisms and algea in marine environments.  The ppb (part-per-billion) pollution indicators become ppm (part-per-million) upon this aggregation.


Hydrocarbon Compounds in the Sediment
Sediment is heterogenous in nature, formed of unconsolidated particles and shows significant regional variation.  Its chemical structure, particle size, origin, sedimentation speed and distribution also show wild variation.  It is called neritic on the coastal shelf and oceanic in the ocean. Classification can be made depending on the size of sediment particles: Mud 4 µm<, silt 1/256-1/32 mm, sand 1/16-1 mm (very rough 1, rough ½, medium 1/8, very fine 1/6), granule 2 mm, pebble 4 mm, cobble 64 mm, boulder 256 mm.
Sediment includes; fish skeleton (100-1000 µm), shark tooth (2000-10000 µm), biologic compounds (1-10 µm), silicoflagellata (10-100 µm), diatomes (10-2000 µm), air dusts (1-100 µm), beach sand (100-2000 µm).  Rocks forming the seabed are composed of; phosphorite, barite, glauconite, and zoolite. Phosphorite, Ca5(PO4)3F, is formed of skeletons and sea shells, carbonate replacing phosphate slowly.  Phosphorite formation is 1 to 10 mm every 100 years.  Simple BaSO4 is formed of glauconites, zoolites and marine invertebrates.  Zoolites are silicates rich in CACO3, glauconites and irons.

Oil hydrocarbons in the sediment originate from accidents and marine vehicles (cleaning, burning), tanker accidents, bilge waters, etc.  Hydrocarbon compounds may also form biogenically from synthesizing marine organisms. C17 hydrocarbon compound is frequent in marine algea.  Other marine organisms synthesize C31 hydrocarbon compounds.


Hydrocarbons Detected in Seawater
Seawater includes (µg/l) methane 0.025-1.25, n-alkanes (0.3-1.5), C14-C33, pristane 0.015-0.043, phitane, naphtalene 3-8, benzene 3-13, indanes 4-13, indenes 5-13, naphtene 0-25, acenaphtene 4-9, fluorene 3-12, phenanthrene 0-15, tetraaromatics 2-7, benzotiophene 0-25, dibenzothiophene 0-9.  Aromatic hydrocarbons increase with depth. Meanwhile volatile hydrocarbons (C4 – C8) have been detected in seawater.  N-alkanes found in the surface water are of biological origin.

Below are oil components detected in sea water:

Octadecane; Heptadecane; Nonadecapentene; Heneicosahexen; Methylhexadecane; Pristane, Phitane; Squalens.

Oil’s water solubility is dependent on the water’s salt content.


Salt Concentration %       Solubility 105 mol/l
Crude oil   200       0                                    2.5
1.5                                1.8
2.9                                1
3.9                                0.7
Naphta       250      0                                    3.9
2.9                                3.7
3.9                                3.5
Kerosene   350      0                                     6.3
Diesel        200      2.9                                  0.8
3.9                                 0.5
Gas oil       250      0                                    1.8
3.9                                0.1

Water-Atmosphere Intersurface Oil Pollution
Oil pollution on the surface is very high. An organic (monomolecular) film covers the ocean. This region has C11 – C22 saturated, unsaturated and esther, C12 – C16 alcohol, organic carbon compounds, and nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. Palmitic, meristic, long-chained, mostly unsaturated acids have also been detected.  The presence of a small amount of C15 branching acids indicates a low level of bacterial action.

Sunlight UV reacts to double-bound compounds.  Some compounds polymerize and settle at the bottom. Oil acids have been detected in the marine atmosphere.

This film like oil:

  • Delays vaporization and evaporation
  • Prevents water – air exchange of poisonous gas localized in waves’ bubbles, preventing algea from obtaining carbon dioxide
  • Changes with light

Pb, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd concentration in the horizon increases (depending on organics and particles).


Oil Quantities Detected at Sea
South Baltic Sea 2-130 µg/l (1983); Coasts of UK 0.7 µg/l open seas, 12 µg/l coasts (1990-1991), 9.3-48 µg/l (1993); Atlantic, Rhode Island Moonstone, North Cape oil spill (2700 tons of oil spilled) PAH quantity 4-132 days later 384-115 µg/l (1986); Gulf of Mexico 0.4-66.8 µg/l (1982); North Atlantic Ocean 17-147 µg/l; Mediterranean Sea, Turkish coasts >400 ng/l (1987); West Mediterranean Sea 1-123 µg/l(1979); Crete 0.145 µg/l (1998); Cretean Sea, Greece 0.092-0.317 µg/l (1997); Gulf of Augusta, Italy 0.1-0.4 µg/l (1984); Coasts of Adriatic Sea 1.40-10.98 mg/l; Cortiou (France) 104 µg/l (1988); Gulf of Lyon 23 µg/l (1983), 18-23 µg/l (1988); Northwestern Persian Gulf 500 µg/l (1986); Coasts of Western India 120-2440 µg/l (1979); Arap Körfezi 3.25-25.33 µg/l; Katar 1.2-428 µg/l (1986); Red Sea 6-1685 µg/l; Thailand 1.9-72 µg/l (1991); Sevastopol 540 µg/l (1990); Yalta 180 µg/l (1991); Novorossisk, Gelendzhik 130 µg/l (1992); Caspian Sea 0.06-0.23 mg/l (between 1981-1993), 230 µg/l (1997)
80,000 tons of oil entered Black Sea between 1980 and 1989.

Caspian Sea had 44.5-157.6 thousand tons of oil waste between 1986 and 1992.

Primary ship traffic in the Black Sea occurs between the İstanbul strait – Odessa – Yalta – Batum. This region had 1-3.5 mg/l oil pollution between 1985 and 1989. Thickness of the oil film was calculated as 0.038 mm (40 kg oil in 1 km2 of seawater).  Black sea, therefore, has 58-300 tons of oil afloat in it.

These results show that oil pollution in the sea has wildly varying distribution.

Situation at global passages are as follows; the English Channel 3.4-9 µg/l (1981), 9 ng/l 81993-1994); Florida Strait 47 µg/l; Yucatan Strait 12 µg/l; Sao Sebastio Strait (Brazil) 49.6 µg/l (1995); Johor Strait (Malaysia) 2.795 µg/l (1995).


Oil Pollution (µg/l) in Turkish Seas and Straits (max.)
Black Sea     İstanbul Strait   Haliç    Marmara Sea    Çanakkale Strait
Entry   Exit                                       Entry      Exit
1997    44.6               43.1               66.8         64                    112     106
1998    16.1               9.5                 45.3         40.3                 45.9    35
1999    126.9             13.4               25.2         15.8                 11.8    106.4
2000    64.8               19.2   77.7     44.5         41.4                 19.6    31.7
2001    97.7               148    607.6   87.2         148                  87.2    87.2
2002    209.2             45.5   1100    752          36                    44.3    592.7
2003    47.8               255    650.9   110          4.9                   102     490.3
2004    277.1             130    249.6   1220        23.5                 27.1    324.3


Detecting Oil Pollution in Water
A certain amount (800 ml, 3l) seawater is placed in a separator funnel and extracted with organic solvents.  Hexan, dichloromethane (DCM), methylchloride, and rarely carbon tetrachlorure is used. UNESCO (1984) suggests DCM extraction as DCM’s boiling temperature is low (35oC) and volatile oil hydrocarbons isn’t lost in the distillation process.  Application of vacuum for solvent distillation has also been recorded in the literature but this can result in hydrocarbon waste, hence, not entirely appropriate. In simple distillation, a special protective joint called Dimroth is used with the distilling flask to minimize the loss of volatile hydrocarbons. Analysis of the water sample must be done in seven days and DCMdis added as a protecting agent.

Sampled container is washed with dichromatic sulphuric acid, tap water, acetone, and finally five times with DCM.

In the sea, oil dissipates by:

  1. Evaporation
  2. Affected by lights and photooxidation
  3. Sedimentation
  4. Microbial transformation (biodegradation)
  5. Absorption by sand

Oil components smaller than C12 dissipate in the first 8 hours.  Benzol and naphtalene aromatics are volatile.  Alkaline derivatives from the cyclic group are usually less volatile.


Damaging Effects of Oil Pollution on Marine Ecosystems
Marine oil leaks, residual oil from ships, oil spills from tanker accidents are harmful to the marine ecosystem.  The range of the damage depends on oil quantity, distribution rates and area structure.  For example, the effects of oil pollution on fisheries is worse during periods of reproduction and migration, and in narrow straits like the İstanbul strait. If oil spills in these narrows straits serving as ecological and biological corridors occur at, for example, between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean during fish migrations, they will have significant effects.  Spilled oil damages the fishing gear as as well.  For these reasons, all the relevant factors must be carefully analyzed in calculating damages to fisheries, along with estimates for the past and future fisheries catch values.  Involved parties may take different positions after the accidents.  Prevention is possible with previous oil pollution monitoring studies and fishery statistics.

Efforts are made to compensate for damages to fisheries by compensating for everyone including the aquaculture areas, net cages, clam and oyster farms, fishing wharfs and line fishers.  Oil spill affects the fish in three ways.  The first and most important one is lethal levels of oil poisoning, for example, of benthic fish like turbot sole, halibut and other fish.  In the 1991 Nassia accident, rockfish and young turbot larvae have been affected.

Marine organisms’ eggs and larvae are more sensitive to the effects of oil pollution.  If the oil pollution is distributed over a wide area, coincided with the spawning season and spilled over an area that some species have specifically selected as breeding areas, aquaculture stocks for certain species may be under threat of extinction (Ipieca/IMO, 1997).

On the other hand, taste change in aquaculture products and the smell of oil causes difficultiesfor the producers.  Net-raised fish and sessile species such as clams and oysters are particularly sensitive; the oil smell can permeate their flesh as they are unable to escape, and prevents consumption, causing great harm to producers.  Performing analyses in reliable laboratories are recommended before the consumption of these species.

This situation can be especially damaging for fishermen using traditional methods.

The effects of oil pollution on the food chain is significant. Food chain reactions beginning with reproduction and spawning areas, fertile coasts and phytoplanktons up to the highest level of the chain must be scientifically monitored. However, a method to quantify these damages hasn’t been developed and approved.  For this reason, every accident is subject to inspection and, eventhough it’s important to research potential damages to marine ecosystems, it’s even more important to prevent the pollution.  This is only possible with correct strategic planning, raising specialists with the knowledge of proper use of materials, and gathering all data to be organized, as well as cooperating with specialists and governmental agencies to follow the developments over the world.

Ecological damages to sandy areas caused by oil pollution can be a evaluated mostly by the effects on benthic and meiobenthic organisms in supra and mediolittoral regions.  For example, organisms living in tidal zones, crab and shrimp species, sand mussels, razor shells and worms are affected.  In rocky areas, clams and oysters, starfish, shellfish, some marine algae and seagrasses, anthozoa, limpets, shrimp and crab species, amphipodes, isopodes, and Balanus species are also affected by the oil spill.

It’s important to map sensitive areas for preparing oil pollution emergency action plan and precaution for coastal areas before accidents happen.  During this crucial period, states of various coastal resources are placed on the map and pollution prevention priorities are sorted.  These priorities may, for example, be placed in a database or a map with GIS.  Cleaning strategies must be coordinated and complementary when it comes to mapping sensitive areas.  Cleaning efforts will always be lacking without sensitive area mapping.  To be helpful to relevant organizations and researchers, the mapping must be simple, practical and easy to understand.  For this reason, various data, but especially the type of coastal region, type of habitat (seagrass meadows, coral reefs, algae, etc.) areas under protection, fisheries activities, historic sites and socioeconomic data are managed.  Types of coastal areas are usually mapped by using the environmental sensitivity index (Ipieca/IMO, 1997).

On the other hand, water fowls are most affected by oil spills. Specific methods exist to clean the birds, especially their wings, of oil.  Amateur intervention hurts the animals instead of helping them so it’s best to seek technical support from expert institutions.

On 1975 Jacob Maersk ran a ground at the Leixos Port, Portugal and an explosion in the engine room caused the entire ship to catch fire.  Six people died.  Smoke from the burning oil had an adverse effect on the local population and spilled oil polluted that 20 miles coastal zone and fishing areas.  Eventually the ship broke apart and 88 1000 tons of oil was spilled into the sea.

On 1976, Urquiola ran aground, while traveling from Spain to La Coruna causing an oil leak.  This was followed by multiple explosions and a great fire. The spreading pollution hurt the shellfish and the marine environment.  Ongoin explosions damaged the city and locals were affected by the smoke.  108,000 tons of oil were spilled and cumulative pollution damage and cleaning costs amounted to $62,000,000.

In 1977, the keel of the Hawaiian Patriot developed a fracture, 300 miles off Honolulu.  Oil leak resulted in a great explosion that turned into a fire enveloping the ship and ended with an eventual oil spill.  The ship then broke in half and sunk to the sea.  This resulted in the death of a man and 99,000 tons of oil spreading towards the islands.  The ship and its cargo was valued at $32,000,000.

On 1978, Amaco Cadiz had an accident on the northern coast of France due to rudder failure and bad weather.  Despite attempts to beach the ship 223,000 tons of oil spilled into the sea with deadly environmental effects after the ship ran aground.  Afterwards, France took precautions to distance tankers from coasts and IMO worked to improve the performance standards of large ships’ steering gears.  This was the greatest oil accident on record and the case against the government of France and other organizations continued for more than 10 years.  The damages were quantified as $32,000,000 for the ship and the cargo, and more than $253,000,000 for legal demands beneficial to France at the final agreement.

On 1973, Andros Patris was abandoned on the northwestern shores of Spain due to a 15 meters fracture is in its keel.  Following an explosion and fire that spread nearly 50,000 tons of oil, and 30 people died.  The ship was brought south and the remaining oil was transferred to other tankers.

On 1979, Beetlejuice blow up in Ireland’s port of entry.  The terminal was damaged badly and the explosion resulted in heavy oil pollution.  64,000 tons of oil spilled.  50 people died and final debt request was approximately $120,000,000.

On 1979, Atlantic Empress collided with the Aegean Captain near Tobago by the islands.  The ships caught fire after the collision.  The accident resulted in 29 deaths.  Eventually, Atlantic empress sunk with the 270,000 tons of oil it was carrying.  Aegean Captain leaked a significant amount of oil as well.  The losses were compensated by a record payment from Lloyd’s.

On 1979, Burrnah Agate cargo ship collided with Mimosa off Texas.  The collision was followed by weeks of explosions and fire.  Nearly 10,000 tons of oil spilled and burned.  32 people died.  Both ships were insured at approximately $30,000,000 each.

On 1979, Independenta carrying 93,000 tons of oil and dry cargo, ship Evrialy collided south of İstanbul Strait.  Independenta caught fire and in it jumped to Evrialy.  42 crew members of Independenta died and the ship drifted towards the shore still burning.  The ship kept burning for weeks causing great ecological damage.  The fire eventually ended by itself.  One-year-old Independenta was insured for more than $40,000,000 and Evrialy was $2.5 million.  30,000 tons of oil burned and the remaining oil of the 94,000 tons on the ship spread causing heavy pollution in a 5.5 km area.  Countless marine organisms died, clams & oysters were covered with oil.

On 1983, Assami, 55 miles off Muscat, Umman, and carrying 53,000 tons of oil, suffered a significant fire in the ship’s engine room.  The fire spread to the rest of the ship, while oil spread to sea.  The ship was abondoned, brought offshore and sunk.

On 1983 Castillo De Bellver caught fire off Saldanya Bay, South Africa on its way to Spain carrying 250,000 tons of light crude oil loaded from the Strait.  The crew abandoned ship.  Three people died and the ship sank after a great explosion.  Coastal winds spread the oil further from the coasts but black oily rain resulting from fires damaged the crops and newly sheared sheep.  The ship was insured for $18,000,000 and the cargo for $54,000,000.

On 1985, Nova sunk 20 miles south of Iran in the Straits after losing 70,000 tons of oil.

On 1988, Odyssey sank 700 miles of Nova Scotia after losing 132,000 tons of oil.

On 1989, Exxon Valdez ran aground off the Alaskan shores after spilling 37,000 tons of oil and causing environmental damage. The cost of the accident, including cleaning, compensation and fines, exceeds $851,000,000,000. If rules of court are enforced, the amount is $10,000,000,000.  This accident resulted in OPA90 and other precautions.

On 1989, Kharg V exploded off the shores of Northwest Africa spilling 70,000 tons of crude oil.  The ship had to be towed 1500 miles south, and have the remaining cargo transferred, as no coastal country allowed the ship on its coasts.

On 1991, ABT Summer sunk 700 miles off Angola, with a loss of 260,000 tons of oil.

On 1991, Ro-ro ship Moby Prince collided with Agip Abzurro carrying 80,000 tons of light crude oil, anchored to Livarno – Italy.  The ferryboat caught fire and 143 people died.  The fire continued for seven days and affected a wide area with a mid-sized marine pollution.  The collision resulted in an official court case by Italian courts and the owners of Moby prince receiving limited liability declaration due to crew negligence.

On 1991, NT Heaven, loaded with 144,000 tons of crude oil caught fire and this resulted several serial explosions off Geneva.  The ship broke off to three pieces, getting towed to shallow waters where it sank afterwards.  Most of the oil was consumed during the fire but more than 10,000 tons of oil and burned oil leaked out.

On 1992, Aegean Sea ran aground in La Coruna, Spain, due to bad weather conditions.  The ship split in two and caught fire.  74,000 tons of oil were spilled with great environmental impacts.  Limitations to fisheries following the accident affected 3000 fishermen.  Fishermen demanded $152,000,000 compensation in courts of Spain.

On 1993, MV Braer, filled with 84,000 tons of northern sea crude oil, suffered engine failure in Shetland islands south of UK.  The ship drifted ashore due to bad weather and broke apart over the rocks.  The entire 85,000 tons of cargo and fuel oil spilled over and did great damage to fisheries areas and the environment.  Dust-like oil fallout from the coasts polluted farmlands.  This resulted in an extensive compensation request by the Shetland Islands Council and others for cleaning costs and environmental damage, as well as by the UK government for the cost of cleaning activities.  On January 1996, $75,000,000 was compensated but the claimants requested an additional $200,000,000.  UK Donaldson appeal began as a result of the Braer accident.

On 1994, Nassia, and ship broker accidents in the İstanbul Strait resulted in the deaths of 29 mariners and 20,000 tons of oil spilling in the Strait, causing significant damage to fisheries stocks.

On 1996, Sea Empress ran aground while entering to port in Milford Haven, UK.  Bad weather conditions made it difficult to remain afloat and 65,000 tons of oil was spilled.  Sensitive coastal zones and fisheries sector received significant damage.  Cumulative value of compensation requests likel exceed Braer’s.  The ship was transported to the marina to transfer the remaining oil.

On 1999, Volganeft was split in half after an accident.  3086 tons of oil spilled into Floria and Marmara seas.

On 2002, 25 tons of fuel oil from Gotia spilled into Istanbul Strait, Haliç and Marmara.

On 2003, Svyatov Panteleymon crashed into rocky shores with 23 tons of fuel oil leaked.

On 2003, Tasman Spirit spilled over 12,000 tons of oil into the Umman sea.  16 km coastal zone was polluted.

On 2004, Athos 1 leaked 265,000 gallons (860 tons) of crude oil into the DelawareRiver.

On 2004, MV Selendang Ayu ran aground in Western Alaska with the ship splitting in half and 1560 tons of oil spilled.

On 2007, Kab 101 leaked 1869 tons of oil in Mexico.

On 2010, MT Bunga Kelena 3 collided with a cargo ship in the Singapore Straits.  20,000 tons of oil were spilled.

On 2010, BP Deepwater Horizon became the biggest oil leak in U.S. history.  492,000 tons of oil spilled into Mexico gulf and did significant ecological damage.  Mississipi River Delta was affected.  11 people died and 17 got injured.

On 2010, MSC Chitra container ship collided with another ship in the Jawaharlan, Nehru port.  Approximately 600 tons of oil were spilled.

0n 2011, TK Bremen spilled approximately 220,000 tons of oil in France.

MARPOL International Convention for the prevention of pollution from ships came into effect in 1978.  In 1989, salvaged material has been brought under control by an international conference and salvage ships ended up with limited liability to prevent oil pollution.  In 1990, U.S. Oil Prevention Amendments (OPA90) made a call for doubledeck tankers and other pollution over prevention necessities. An intenational conference for oil pollution preparation action plan and cooperation made a call for a global organization for oil accidents and got results in 1995.  In 1991, Rubinion-18 sank in the İstanbul strait with 2000 sheep and this resulted in a terrible pollution.  The ship couldn’t be salvaged.  90-95 MARPOL brought doubledeck to new tankers and stricter inspection to existing ones within Annex 1.  90-95 SOLAS brought significant improvement to some ships in EU waters with the enforcement of ISM rules.


Damages of Oil and Cleaning Methods

Oil prevents light and air from reaching the lower water columns as it spreads through the surface first.  Oxygen-breathing animals can’t live in the absence of oxygen; mass deaths occur, especially near coastal regions, plants are unable to do photosynthesis when light can’t reach lower regions and eutrophication may begin.

Oil prevents marine birds from flying by sticking to their wings, prevents fish from breathing by stitching their gills and poisons marine organisms after reaching their systems – this can end up reaching us when we hunt them.  Steps can be taken to clean the oil that spread in the sea.  These are;

  • Burning: Oil spills at a fair distance from coastal regions can be removed by burning but this solution may not be valid for oil that has been in the sea for a while as easily burned volatile compounds have vaporized.
  • Putting up barriers: Possible in marinas and coastal areas with calm waters. Spilled oil is surrounded by multiple metal pipes. Prevented from dissipating, oil is cleaned with metal scoops.  Inefficient in the presence of waves.
  • Water bubbles: Pressurized air surrounding the region of spill, as well as underneath it, prevents dissipation. Effective in shallow waters.
  • Chemical material use: Efficient in open seas and stormy weather, oil spill is surrounded by a chemical that can store it by surrounding it with a gelatinous outer layer. Inefficient in cold water.
  • Mechanical cleaning: Mechanical gathering of the oil spill with a collection system mounted on the ship. Efficient in calm seas and oil may be used afterwards.
  • Planting microorganisms: Useful through microorganisms’ hydrocarbon use. Oil’s disintegration is faster through use of suitable microorganisms.  It may be harmful to the ecosystem due to sharp increase in oxygen production without appropriate conditions, not preferred.
  • Use of absorbent: Used to eliminate small amounts of oil spills.
  • Sedimentation: Oil is encouraged to go through sedimentation with the use of materials like fine sand and brick dust in regions with oil spills.
  • Emulsion: Dispersants are commonly used; oil should disperse in small pieces with the decreasing surface tension. The dispersed oil can be easily digested by organisms through photolytic processes.


Pollution at sea surface

Oil pollution at the coasts of Florya

Oil pollution at the coasts of Florya

Oil pollution at the coasts of Florya

Oil pollution at the coasts of Florya

Polluted Florya coasts

Oil pollution near Florya, Atatürk Marine Mansion

Oil pollution near Florya, Atatürk Marine Mansion

Oil pollution in Florya

Oil pollution and pollution on Florya road

Polluting clean beaches

Polluting clean beaches

Polluting clean beaches

Polluting clean beaches

Polluting clean beaches

A seabird dead from oil pollution

After the Gotia Accident

Marine animals that died and washed up on shore due to pollution

Ship split in two after the Volganeft accident

Volganeft accident

Fishermen affected by pollution in the Küçükçekmece lagoon

Fishermen affected by oil pollution

Svyatov Panteleymon accident

Ship broken in two after the Svyatov Panteleymon accident

Warning signposts placed due to pollution

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