Reliable figures on oil spills from tankers can be obtained only through detailed editing and correcting of Coast Guard data, coupled with a knowledge that statistics in some of the fields should be discarded due to ambiguities. About 200 U.S. flag tankers operate between U.S. ports; the import trade consists of about 30-40 more U.S. tankers and 600-700 foreign tankers. U.S. ships have about half as many spills per port call as Liberian tankers, and 1/3 to 1/5 as many as foreign tankers as a whole. There is mounting evidence that ships are prone to have a rather constant number of spills per year irrespective of variations in port call exposure. When spill incidence is measured per ship time, the U.S. tanker margin over foreign fleets is only 2-3 instead of 3-6. For 1973-75, 76% of all U.S. tanker spills were less than 100 gal, compared to 65% of all flag of convenience spills. The probability of no tanker losses can be expected to occur in conditions favorable to a spill in coastal waters. In any given year, the U.S. tanker fleet of 235 vessels greater than 1,000 GRT can be expected to have about 100 spills in U.S. waters, while foreign flag ships will contribute another 250 spills. About half the time the largest U.S. tanker spill in a 1 yr period will be less than 5,000 gal; the median value for the largest spill from foreign tankers will be closer to 50,000-100,000 gal.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    Woods Hole, MA  United States 
  • Authors:
    • Stewart, R J
  • Publication Date: 1977

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 74-85
  • Serial:
    • Oceanus
    • Volume: 20
    • Issue Number: 4
    • Publisher: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00189087
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Data Courier, Incorporated
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 28 1979 12:00AM