Geography in the News

Worst Oil Spill in UK waters

Shell has finally stopped the leak from its faulty oil pipeline at the Gannet Alpha platform east of Aberdeen in the North Sea, ending the flow of oil undersea after 10 days of the worst oil spill in UK waters for a decade. Conservation groups have warned that marine and bird life in the area could be harmed, and fishermen have been told to stay clear of the Gannet Alpha platform– 112 miles east of Aberdeen– and the surrounding area. 

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said: “We know oil of any amount, if in the wrong place, at the wrong time, can have a devastating impact on marine life. Currently thousands of young auks – razorbills, puffins and guillemots – are flightless and dispersing widely in the North Sea during late summer. So they could be at serious risk if contaminated by this spill.”

Greenpeace criticised Shell for not being sufficiently open about the progress of the spill, which was first discovered on Wednesday but not announced publicly by the company until Friday.

More than 1,300 barrels of oil have been spilled in the North Sea over this week.  Green campaigners said the incident raised questions over the safety of oil companies’ plans to drill in deep water in the Arctic, as the North Sea is generally supposed to be the safest in the world in terms of spills. Ben Ayliffe of Greenpeace, which has been campaigning to stop further oil-drilling exploration in delicate environments such as the Arctic, said: “The North Sea is supposed to be ultra-safe – we are told spills can’t happen there. Shell is looking to move into the Arctic where an oil spill would all but impossible to clean up. Events in the North Sea should give the company pause for thought.”

Shell made use of remotely operated vehicles to stop the  leak and to monitor the effects.required. 

                                                 The Gannet Alpha platform in the North Sea

You can find more on this North Sea oil spill here.

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