Öl im Golf, damals und heute

WIEN – Die Explosion der im Golf von Mexiko von British Petroleum (BP) betriebenen Ölplattform Deepwater Horizon am 20. April führte zu dem wohl bekanntesten Ölaustritt seit Jahrzehnten. Ein anderer Fall eines unkontrollierten Ölaustritts ereignete sich vor 31 Jahren etwas weiter südlich auf der mexikanischen Seite des Golfs. Dabei handelte es sich um das größte Ölunglück in Friedenszeiten überhaupt.

Die damals betroffene Plattform – die Ixtoc 1 – wurde von der staatlichen mexikanischen Ölgesellschaft Pemex betrieben. Obwohl die beiden Unfälle und die damit verbundenen Ölaustritte einige Gemeinsamkeiten aufweisen, hat sich die Art der Ölunfälle im Meer in den drei Jahrzehnten zwischen den beiden Unglücken gründlich geändert. 

Für den größten Teil des in das Meer ausgetretenen Öls waren Öltanker verantwortlich. Die Praxis der Tankreinigung verursachte eine Vielzahl kleinerer Ölaustritte und Tankerunfälle wie die der Torrey Canyon, Exxon Valdez, Metula und St. Peter führten zu enormer Ölverseuchung. Unkontrollierte Ölaustritte waren nicht selten, passierten aber meist an Land oder in seichten Gewässern und ein Großteil konnte relativ leicht gestoppt werden.

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