oil-spills still happen, even with today's technology – Why? You would think oil companies would have safety systems in place to prevent major oil-spill incidents. They have, but the systems are not always adhered to. The safety systems are there to cover the companies' backs and then they are largely by-passed or ignored.


There are three reasons why oil is still spilling into the oceans of the world:

  1. Negligence
  2. Reducing costs
  3. Acts of God


1.Negligence includes people not doing their jobs properly, taking short cuts and keeping quiet when they find something wrong.


There is no excuse for oil-spills caused by negligence and anyone found responsible should be fired, without any compensation and personally sued for every penny they have. It should not be an excuse to say they were only following orders.


Oil and shipping companies need to improve their systems to make it easier for employees to report negligence. It should be a sacking offence, regardless of whether or not an oil-spill actually occurred.


Only those few instances of negligence that cause major oil-spills ever reach the courts. Most of the time the offence is hidden from company management and from the public.



2.Reducing costs is an ever-present pressure on all employees. There is a fine line between negligence and financial economies. Sometimes a process just needs a certain amount of time to do, or a certain specification of equipment to enable it to be completed safely. When management order cost reductions in a process, before lower-cost technologies are available it is a form of negligence. The manager is hoping that they will get away with using lower specification materials or processes and that no oil-spill will result.


Cost reductions will occur as technology advances and from economies of scale. They should not be enforced by budget cuts, but enabled by research and development.


Another way that shipping companies save money is to order their oil tankers to discharge residual oil from their tanks at sea. Even the small oil-spills that result damage our oceans.


3.Acts of God include things like hurricanes, earthquakes and tidal waves. Even with today's technology we cannot fight forces of nature as massive as these. The energy unleashed in an earthquake is too great to comprehend, much less engineer a solution to. oil-spills will result every time we try to fight nature.


The answer to preventing oil-spills due to acts off God lies in our ability to predict hurricanes, earthquakes and events that will cause tidal waves. We have the knowledge to predict each of these. Earthquakes are caused by a predictable build up of stress along the boundary between two tectonic plates, it is just a matter of putting the sensors in place. Earthquakes in particular places cause tidal waves, so if we know when the earthquake will happen, we know when a tidal wave is likely.


Once we know when these natural events are likely to occur companies can reduce the risk of oil-spills by shutting down refineries, diverting tankers and shutting down oil wells.