Many people think that the double-sided and double-bottomed carriers would mean no more spills. But are they really safer?
There were two major spills from double-hulled tankers in 2010, both were escorted by a super tug and had pilots on board. They spilled approx. 4.6 million liters of oil into the ocean.
Pipeline & Gas Journal - “On Jan. 23, 2010 the Eagle Otome collided with a barge, ripping a hole in its hull and causing an oil spill. Eagle Otomes spill which put nearly 397,000 gallons of crude into the Port Arthur Ship Channel, Texas”
MarineNews - “On May 25, 2010 Bunga Kelana 3 collided with the bulk freighter, MV Waily, in the Singapore Strait, 13 km southeast of Changi Air Base (East).. The tanker’s captain estimated that 2,000 tons of crude oil could have spilled into the sea.”
Here is info on a recent oil spill from a double-hulled tanker
The Guardian, Feb 12, 2012 - “LAPLACE, La. (AP) — An oil tanker barge collided with another barge Friday on the Mississippi, spilling oil and leading officials to close a five-mile stretch of the river” the U.S. Coast Guard said. “Officials said the collision happened 50 miles upriver from New Orleans. The wreck tore a 10 ft x 5 ft gash into the double-hulled tank of the tanker barge, which was being pushed by a tugboat and oil spewed into the river”
After the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, the U.S. Coast Guard testified to Congress “that even if the ship had been double-hulled, the spill would have been reduced by only 60 percent at most, perhaps only 25 percent. Even under the best case scenario, 4.4 million gallons (16.7 million liters) of oil would have still spilled into the sea”http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/03/18/TankerSafety/
- Dave Shannon is a senior metallurgical engineer, University of Alberta graduate, and a mining and metals consultant. He has conducted research on the construction and chemistry of tankers. He has established that “the built-in features of a double hull cause them to corrode up to three times faster than the old single hulls they replace. The corrosion chemistry with double hulls is unique and complicated” and he fears, "...with sub-standard maintenance, it’s a chemistry experiment just waiting to explode." Watch Dave Shannon present at Kitimat Council Here
I hope this write-up is going to give you some perspective on “safety” issues regarding the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.