You can draw your own conclusions from the charts below but it is not debatable that Oil Tankers used to get into a lot of serious accidents and spill a huge amount of oil. That is just not the case today.
- two large spills (>700 tonnes) both of which occurred out at sea
- four small spills (<700 tonnes) with only one occurring near a harbor and was the result of an avoidable collision
If you do the math, this calculates to oil tanker accidents have been reduced 92% while there has been a 55% increase in their use. That means late 2010’s oil tanker traffic is about 20 times less likely to have a spill than they were in the early 1970’s.
The number of oil tanker spills has dramatically declined while number and size of tankers has dramatically increased
The entire GLOBE averages LESS than two large oil tanker spills per year:
In fact the number of oil tanker spills decreased by half from 2002 to 2011 and is about 1/6th what is was in 1992:
- “International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships” aka MARPOL coming into effect in 1978
- “International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers” aka STCW revisions from 1995
- “Tanker Management Self Assesment 2” aka TMSA2 from 2008
It is important to note that this site is NOT supporting oil tankers. Like all of our content, we simply want to work with the facts and leave as much emotion as we can out of the decision making process.
Tankers with out a doubt unpleasant, just like all large infrastructure (highways, power transmission lines, pipelines…), but as they grow in size (which reduces the number of small, less experienced tankers) and regulation tightens, oil tankers become much more reliable and less prone to spills.