Thousands of sunken ships, many of them from World War Two, are increasingly in danger of releasing their collectively vast stores of oil. In 2002, a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association ended a long hunt and closed in on the source of a long vexing oil spill off California-- a Korea-bound freighter named the Luckenback that sank in 1953. The sunken ship was releasing the oil through corroded pipes.
There are more than 8,500 possibly polluted shipwrecks in the ocean, 6,300 of those are from World War Two. Those ships are now around seventy years old and are starting to structurally fail more and more each year. According to one report, there could be anywhere from 757 million to 6 billion gallons of oil in sunken ships around the world. For comparison's sake, BP's Deepwater Horizon spill was approximately 210 million gallons.
Cleaning up all the ships just isn't possible. Many are too deep, others sit in exact locations unknown, while others lie in a way that financially precludes their clean up. Even the ones that we can clean are expensive, the cleanup of the Luckenback cost around $20 million.
Are you on Twitter? Follow me (@sheagunther) there, I give good tweets.
And if you really like my writing, you can join my Facebook page.
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.