Open Water Oil Spills

Open Water Oil Spills

With oil gushing out of the British Petroleum oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico over the past week, the amount of leaking oil is now considered to be one of the top 20 oil spills in history.

Over 29 million gallons of oil have spoiled the ecosystem of the Gulf to date.

According to the Oil Spill Intelligence Report, the largest ten oil spills
in history include the following disasters:

1. Persian Gulf (1991), intentional spill of 240 million gallons
2. Gulf of Mexico (1979), 140 million gallons due to well blowout
3. Trinidad (1979), 84 million gallons due to ship collision
4. Persian Gulf (1983), 80 million gallons due to blowout
5. Uzbekistan (1992), 80 million gallons due to blowout
6. South Africa (1983), 78 million gallons due to tanker fire
7. Portsall, France (1978), 68 million gallons due to ship grounding
8. North Atlantic (1988), 43 million gallons due to tanker rupture
9. Libya (1980), 42 million gallons due to blowout
10. Land’s End, Britain (1967), 38 million gallons due to tanker rupture

To the best of our knowledge, only a handful of open water swimmers have actually swum into these giant oil spills. Gerry Rodrigues, a young promising teenage swimmer from Trinidad & Tobago at that time, was on an open water training swim off of Trinidad with his teammates when he inadvertently swam into the oil slick caused by the third largest oil spill in history.

We were on one of our longer training swims and I was swimming ahead of my
teammate, Richard Hoford. We didn’t see anything and we had not heard about any oil spill before getting in the water
,” explained Gerry. “We were just out training like we normally did in those days.”

When I ran swam right into that oil slick, it was terrible. I mean oil all over
me. It was so thick. It took days for everything to be removed. We had
to remove the oil with kerosene and soap, over and over again; getting it out of my hair was the challenge

We didn’t get to go back into the ocean for a long time, but I will never forget running into that black mass of crude oil.”

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones