What is an Oil Spill?

Oil spills happen when people make mistakes or are careless and cause an oil tanker to leak oil into the ocean.

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A sinking oil tanker spills oil into the ocean
There are a few more ways an oil spill can occur. Equipment breaking down may cause an oil spill. If the equipment breaks down, the tanker may get stuck on shallow land. When they start to drive the tanker again they can put a hole in the tanker causing it to leak oil.


When countries are at war, one country may decide to dump gallons of oil into the other country's oceans.

Illegal dumpers are people that will dump crude oil into the oceans becuase the do not want to spend money of decomposing their waste oil. Because they won't spend money of decomposing the oil (breaking it down) they will dump oil into the oceans, which is illegal.

Natural disasters (like hurricanes) may cause an oil spill too. If a hurricane was close, the winds from the hurricane could cause the oil tanker to flip over, pouring oil out.

Watch this video of the Exxon Valdez, one of the world oil spills in history...



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