Data from ITOPF shows that six oil spills over 7 tonnes were recorded from tanker incidents in 2021. This is a slight increase on 2020, but on a par with the average for the 2010s and a dramatic reduction from the numbers reported in earlier decades.
nly one of the six incidents in 2021 resulted in a spill greater than 700 tonnes. and is classified as a ‘large’ spill. This occurred in Asia in April and involved heavy crude oil.
The five other incidents are classified as ‘medium’ spills, and involved crude, slurry and non-persistent oils.
The total volume of oil lost to the environment from tanker spills in 2021 was approximately 10,000 tonnes, the majority of which was spilt in the one large incident. This figure is higher than the previous two years but remains a fraction of the 1.7 billion tonnes of oil that is transported by sea each year.
Despite some annual fluctuations, the number and volume of oil spills from tankers has plummeted since ITOPF’s records began half a century ago and is largely stabilising at a low level
said ITOPF, attributing this reduction to a positive change from the shipping industry, supported by governments, and their ongoing commitment to exploring and investing in ways to improve maritime safety and environmental protection. Notstanding this reduction, Mr. Oli Beavon, Managing Director at ITOPF, highlighted in a previous interview to SAFETY4SEA that maritime stakeholders should remain vigilant.