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Query - A little less than a happy high — LiveJournal
Is there ever any sort of discussion about the environmental impact of the oil spills associated with tankers sunk in WWII?
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tarotchan From: tarotchan Date: June 8th, 2011 03:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I know there is some discussion with the Arizona in Hawaii. People are concerned about the fuel still in that ship, but the survivors feel as if that is the tears of the ship and it should continue.
komos From: komos Date: June 8th, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking more along the lines of the tankers sunk by sub attacks. Though they weren't anywhere near the size of modern supertankers, they were heavily targeted.

When the story of the Gulf spill hit, the Boston Globe ran a story discussing the lasting damage caused by a barge accident off the cape in 1969. I'm just wondering why I haven't heard anything about similar issues caused by war wrecks.
cris From: cris Date: June 10th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
few theories:

1) in order to gauge impact, you need to be able to assess a 'before' picture and an 'after'; and, afaik, there isn't a lot of 'before' data as studying the impacts of pollution and footprints of civilization wasn't a common thing until the 60's. What we do know is usually pieced together from commercial records (ie. the amount of cod fished off the Grand Banks and price thereof between 1940 and 1950 can be used to interpret supply and health of fish population at the time) but even such things can be notoriously noisy (ie. was the price high because cod were hard to find as they were choking on oil, or because there was a war on?)

b) there's a lot of trash in the oceans. Tanker wrecks, broken subs, crashed planes, freaking nuclear bomb tests. I imagine it would be hard to isolate the environmental impact of just one of those factors, especially over a large area. The Globe story is about a relatively small area of marshland that was impacted by a distinct event.
komos From: komos Date: June 10th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the former may be more of a factor. There were numerous sinkings of ships barely out of harbor before port cities began to see that nighttime blackouts as a good idea. I'm also guessing that the small area of marshland may have been much more pristine in the offing than the area around New York or Mobile.

ETA: I have no idea if this says what I meant it to say. Please pardon... I'm running on a 13 hour day with way too little food.

Edited at 2011-06-11 12:18 am (UTC)
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