BP oil spill vs oil tankers sunk in the gulf during WW2.

  • I tried to get some stats on this, and aparently we lost 41 oil tankers in the 4 years we were at war.  Not sure how much oil was actualy spilt into the gulf when it happened but I think it is safe to assume we didn’t clean any of it up (had bigger fish to fry with the nazis).  Question is, was there any long term enviromental damage?  I kind of doubt it or we would have heard of people on the coast growing an extra appendage or a 3rd eye (with the baby boomers).

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    At roughly 10,000-12,000 tons, a typical World War II oil tanker was much smaller than the giants that cruise the oceans today. On top of that, the BP oil spill happened over a much shorter period of time, and was focused towards a smaller area.

    So I’m sure the Gulf Coast suffered a lot more from British Petrol than from German U-boats.

  • True, but at the same time this is a question that is not asked outside of World War 2 dorks like me and you :lol:

    You make a good argument about BP being worse than the tankers being sunk, the spill was constant and flowed freely into the Gulf.  Still though… missing the third eye that comes from  eating a shrimp covered in oil, it just never happened.  That was a lot of oil no matter how you look at it - and at the time it was ignored (justifiably so - we had nazis to kill!)

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    If you’re looking at physically discernible traits in posterity (i.e., the baby boom generation), I’d say they would require considerable epigenetic or even genetic alterations in the parents (i.e., the people living there at the time). That’s not a very likely effect from such levels of pollution. If anyone was affected in any way, it seems more probable that their overall health would suffer to some degree, but it would probably be difficult to attribute that to any specific factor. An extensive epidemiological study may be able to demonstrate some effects, but I don’t know whether anybody has done one.

    Also, it’s uncertain how much of the oil even reached the beaches or the fishing grounds. It seems obvious that the marine ecosystem could handle less oil, over a much longer period of time, and at various locations, much better than the massive BP spill. So a lot of that WWII tanker oil may have evaporated, or sunk to the bottom, or gone down with the ship and slowly dissipated.

    I don’t think that the war itself would have played a major role in deciding to either clean up or ignore any oil that may have landed on the beaches. If the oil would have arrived in a town like, say, Biloxi, then people would have probably cleaned it up because it posed a direct threat to the livelihood of the local fishermen. On the other hand, if it would have landed in a remote location, it would likely have been ignored, simply because environmental awareness was not exactly a major concern in the 1940’s, war or no war.

    In each case, I’m only speculating - we’d need to look for contemporary reports to know the truth.

    And of course, the petroleum flavor does little for the shrimps, so I don’t think too many were eaten.  :-)

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