ics (1997), an oil spill is “oil, discharged accidentally or intentionally, that floats on the surface of water bodies as a discrete mass and is carried by the wind, currents and tides. Oil spills can be partially controlled by chemical dispersion, combustion, mechanical containment and absorption. They have destructive effects on coastal ecosystems” (par. 1). The ecological crisis brought about by oil spills displaces a global equilibrium pattern based on the dwindling supply of marine resources. As an environmentally ethical dilemma, oil spills need to be closely evaluated and addressed to take drastic actions to restore balance and prevent further damage to the marine ecosystem.
According to Oracle ThinkQuest, oil spills are actually classified into two groups: accidental and from operations (n.d., par. 1). Accidental oil spills are generally caused by collusions, fires and explosions, hull failures, and groundings (ibid.). On the other hand, oil spills from operations “occur when ships are carrying out routine operations at ports or oil terminals, but the majority of such spills are small, with 93% of them producing a spillage of less than 7 tonnes” (Oracle, n.d., par. 3). As indicated, two specific activities are encompassed within the scope of oil spills from operations, to wit: “loading/discharging: commonest cause of oil spillages (either during routine operations or resulting from accidents), with 3070 occurring between 1974-1999; and bunkering: the least common operational oil loss with only 566 occurring between 1974-1999” (ibid.).
Whatever the causes are, the fact remains that the oil spilled in bodies of water pose dangers to marine life and to the environment. The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF) is “a not-for-profit organization established on behalf of the worlds ship owners to promote an effective response to marine spills of oil, chemicals and other hazardous substances” (ITOPF: About, 2010, par.