• 3 minutes Will Iron-Air batteries REALLY change things?
  • 7 minutes Natural gas mobility for heavy duty trucks
  • 11 minutes NordStream2
  • 7 hours GREEN NEW DEAL = BLIZZARD OF LIES
  • 2 hours U.S. Presidential Elections Status - Electoral Votes
  • 2 hours Evergrande is going Belly Up.
  • 2 hours Monday 9/13 - "High Natural Gas Prices Today Will Send U.S. Production Soaring Next Year" by Irina Slav
  • 6 hours Is China Rising or Falling? Has it Enraged the World and Lost its Way? How is their Economy Doing?
  • 2 days Poland Expands LNG Powered Trucking and Fueling Stations
  • 2 days World’s Biggest Battery In California Overheats, Shuts Down
  • 1 day The unexpected loss of output from wind turbines compels UK to turn to an alternative; It's not what you think!
  • 17 hours Ten Years of Plunging Solar Prices
  • 21 hours Extraction of gasoline from crude oil.
  • 3 days The coming Cyber Attack
  • 3 days Is the Republican Party going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6th?
  • 3 days Ozone layer destruction driving global warming
  • 3 days 'Get A Loan,' Commerce Chief Tells Unpaid Federal Workers

Breaking News:

UN Climate Conference Snubs Big Oil

Chinese Scientists Find New Way To Clean Up Oil Spills

Chinese Scientists Find New Way To Clean Up Oil Spills

Chinese scientists have invented a…

BP To Take Final Hit On 2010 Disaster

BP To Take Final Hit On 2010 Disaster

British Petroleum is set to…

The Oil Eating Bacteria That Can Clean Up Crude Spills

The Oil Eating Bacteria That Can Clean Up Crude Spills

Scientists have discovered a rod-shaped…

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba is a writer and journalist based in Mexico City. She has extensive experience writing and editing environmental features, travel pieces, local news in the…

More Info

Premium Content

The Black Sea Oil Spill Is Worse Than Originally Thought

Last weekend, a Greek-flagged oil tanker leaked oil into the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Initially, officials reported that the spill was much smaller than it actually is, either erroneously or deceitfully claiming that the spill was quickly contained and that it posed no threat at all to either humans or wildlife. In reality, the spill has spread to an area approaching 80 square kilometres in size and has stretched into the open sea. 

The Minerva Symphony tanker had filled up with oil at the Yuzhno-Ozereyevka sea terminal on the southern coast of Russia, near the city of Novorossiysk, the largest port on the Black Sea. The owner of the Yuzhno-Ozereyevka terminal, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which ships oil out of Kazakhstan, was the body which initially spread the misinformation that the spill area was limited to 200 square meters and consisted of just 12 cubic metres of oil. 

Scientists at Russia's Academy of Sciences (RAN), using satellite imagery, contested these claims, showing that in reality the spill is around four times as big as the consortium claimed. "The oil slick stretched from the shore into the open sea over a distance of 19 kilometres on Aug. 8," the RAN report said. The World Wildlife Fund of Russia has estimated that the volume of oil spilled is actually around 100 metric tons. While the consortium claimed that there was no danger to humans or wildlife, oil pollution was visible at a dolphin aquarium 15 miles away in Bolshoy Utrish. Russia’s consumer safety agency, however, found that samples of water taken along the coast from the Black Sea remained within normal parameters. 

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko responded by calling upon the state environmental overseers to assess the scale and impact of the spill and open a criminal probe into the environmental damages. Historically, however, Russia has had a less-than stellar track record for environmental policy development, regulation, and oversight. And then there is the issue of the tanker’s Greek ownership. 

Shipping is one of the most important industries in the Greek economy, second only to tourism. While Greece represents just a tiny fraction of the world population (0.16 percent), a whopping 20.67 percent of global tonnage and over half of European Union-controlled tonnage is held by Greek shipowners. And while Greeks are experts in shipping, with a rich maritime tradition, they are seemingly also global leaders in oil spills. 

A 2016 study found that, in terms of total volume of spilled oil, Greek ranks second in the world second only to Liberia. If the fact that a country with an economy as small as Liberia’s ranks first on this list is shocking, that’s because country affiliation, or “flagging” in the global shipping industry is both ridiculously complex and absurdly simple. Countries like Liberia offer a “flag of convenience” to shipowners who want to pay a nominal fee to use another country’s flag in exchange for cheaper labor and laxer regulations, even if they have never and will never visit the country whose flag they fly. This also means that these ships are not, so to speak, running a tight ship. With responsibility obfuscated, these ships are far less reliable for following international regulations. 

Altogether, as of 2016, Liberian-flagged ships were responsible for nearly two million tonnes of spilled oil from 35 vessels, or 37% of all spilled oil in the world. Greece, a country which does not represent a large number of flags of convenience, but actual Greek shipping companies, comes in second with over 1 million tonnes spilled, or 20.5 percent of the global total from 19 ships. These two goliaths outstrip any other country’s spillage by a stunning margin. The third-largest oil-spiller, Spain, clocked in at a relatively paltry 377,000 tonnes, or 7.7 percent, from just three vessels. 

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com 

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment

Leave a comment




EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News