When the explosion occurred at BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010, unfortunately killing 11 platform workers, injuring 17 others and triggering an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), no one could have imagined its impact.
Now recognised as one of the worst spills in history, estimates from US scientists suggest that approximately 160-380 million litres (between 42 to 100 million gallons) of oil have already entered the GOM.
Two of our scientists, Dr Judith Gobin and Dr Azad Mohammed try to assess the impact of the oil spill on eco-systems, and offer some reassurance to the Caribbean.
“The impacts of this disaster are compounded by the sheer size and scope of it. The picture is indeed grim, not only for the Gulf of Mexico’s environment and proximal areas–their coastal and marine ecosystems–but for the cascading effects, and ultimately on human beings in terms of loss of livelihoods and severely affecting the tourism industry. The longer-term socio-economic impacts are therefore expected to be severe,” they say in their review read article>>.
Caption: OIL SPILL AFTERMATH: Pelicans from the rehabilitation centre in Buras, LA were flown from New Orleans International Airport to the Rockport Airport and were released at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Aransas Pass, TX. 27 June 2010. Image: © BP p.l.c.