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More large oil spills from ships in 2013

A generally lower number of large oil spills are registered from tank vessels around the world. But 2013 broke the trend of recent years, bringing instead an increase in the number of major oil spills, according to new figures.

Photo: Stapleton

In general one fortunately has to look back several years to find examples of oil disasters caused by major tankers, accidents that have polluted both the ocean and coasts. The latest incident that most people likely remember was when the Prestige quite simply broke in half off the coast of Galicia, Spain, in November 2002, and 63,000 tons of the ship's 77,000 ton cargo leaked into the sea. A big part of this oil wound up on the coasts of northern Spain, and the accident resulted in a protracted legal aftermath, in addition to the coastal damages.

The latest statistics in the field, however, show that the number of large spills from tankers in 2013 increased slightly, compared to 2012 and 2011, while the overall trend of declining spills was maintained, according to new data from the interest group International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF).

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