Among the most dangerous accidents which can have devastating effects are those that involve monolithic tankers that carry a huge amount of oil across international waters. Environmental disasters have happened in the past involving these tankers.
In today’s world where countless automobiles around the could guzzle millions of gallons of fuel each day, oil producers see the need to quickly meet the demand. This huge demand for oil gave rise to supertankers with deadweight tonnages of over 440,000 tons, which can carry huge amounts of oil across vast distances.
Catastrophic Tanker Accidents
Regrettably, while most of these tankers are considered relatively safe, there are some that have met accidents at sea which caused monumental damages to the environment. One of such accidents, as revealed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 where over 260,000 barrels of oil fell to the sea. In order for such accidents to be avoided, shipping companies have started observing newer safety measures. What are these?
Building Double Hull Vessels
Today, tanker vessel owners have started double-hulling their vessels. Among its various purposes, the most notable one is its ability to minimize risk and high possibility of oil spilling out in case of accidental groundings or collisions. Even single-hull vessel owners have started to retrofit their existing tanker vessels with double hulls.
Using Electronic Technology
Since most of tanker ship oil spills occur because the vessel inadvertently ran aground or figured in a collision, vessel owners find it necessary to equip their ships with ECDIS. Short for electronic chart display information systems, ECDIS help ship captains and navigators prevent disastrous accidents. International shipping companies are now in the process of implementing ECDIS technology in their own tanker vessels.
ECDIS can help the ship detect the presence of shallow waters or incoming vessels. Shallow waters can cause the ship to run aground and in the process, damage their hulls, potentially risking the oil it carries to be spilled to the ocean. Since ECDIS is able to provide the ship’s navigators with real-time data about their current or last position, the ship can avoid any perceivable threat.
Despite these precautions, accidents can still happen. In any of these accidents, there are other factors that could eventually cause the oil tanker to accidentally dump its load into the sea. Envirocarehazmat.com notes that if that were to happen, the ship’s captain must immediately inform the proper authorities so oil spill emergency services and response in Utah can promptly begin to contain the spill. This swift action is necessary to protect the environment and ecosystem.