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TIME LINE | WORLD’S MAJOR OIL SPILLS

● Argo Merchant, December 1976
The vessel carrying 7.7m gallons of Number 6 oil ran aground off the coast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts and dumped its entire cargo into the sea when it broke apart.

● Ixtoc I, June 1979
The exploratory oil rig off the Bay of Campech in Mexico suffered from a blowout and subsequently dumped 140m gallons of oil into the bay.

● Burmah Agate, November 1979
After a collision between the Mimosa and the Burmah Agate in the Galveston harbour off the Texan coast an 8 by 15ft hole was caused in the latter. An estimated 2.6m gallons were released into the sea.

● Exxon Valdez, March 1989
One of the most famous oil spills in history, roughly 10.8m gallons of crude leaked into the sea off the coast of Alaska from the Exxon Valdez ship after it struck the Prince William Sound Bligh Reef. It has been called the largest spill in US history as officials are still working to clean it up.

● Barge Cibro Savannah, March 1990
The barge exploded after leaving a pier at the Citgo facility in Linden, New Jersey. Roughly 127,000 gallons of oil are unaccounted for and either burned up in the fire or leaked into the water.

● The Mega Borg, June 1990
The Mega Borg container leaked 5.1m gallons of oil after a lightering accident, which resulted in a fire. The incident also happened off the Galveston coast.

● Jupiter, September 1990
During an offloading operation at the Total plant in Bay City, Michigan, the tanker caught fire.

● Arabian Gulf Spills, January 1991
During the Gulf War, tankers, oil terminals and wells were destroyed in Kuwait, spilling 900m barrells of oil, marking it as the largest oil spill in history.

● Barge Bouchard 155, August 1993
Roughly 336,000 gallons of Number 6 oil leaked into Tampa Bay after the barge Bouchard 155, the freighter Balsa 37 and the barge Ocean 255 collided.