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Headlines & Between the Lines

12 Worst Major Oil Spills — By Comparison, the Exxon Valdez was a Minor Spill

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June 3, 2010 | 1,999 views | Post a comment

Published November 25, 2007 by Will Wright

When most Americans think about the world's largest oil spills, the Exxon Valdez comes to mind. In many ways the Exxon Valdez oil spill has become synonymous with the worst oil spills in history. But as catastrophic as the Exxon Valdez oil spill was, in terms of the number of gallons of oil spilled, the Exxon Valdez oil spill was frighteningly small in comparison to the largest oil spills in history.

A List of 12 of the Largest Oil Spills in History

12. The Torrey Canyon Oil Spill - March 18, 1967
Location: Scilly Isles, UK
Amount of Oil Spilled: 25 - 36 million gallons

The Torrey Canyon was one of the first big supertankers. It was also the source of one of the first major oil spills. Although the ship was originally built to carry 60,000 tons, it was enlarged to a 120,000 ton capacity. She was carrying this full capacity of oil when she struck a reef off the coast of Cornwall.

The spill created an oil slick measuring 270 square miles. It contaminated approximately 180 miles of coastland and killed over 15,000 sea birds and enormous numbers of aquatic animals before the spill was finally contained.

11. The Sea Star Oil Spill - December 19, 1972
Location: Gulf of Oman

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