Oil Spill Law and Legal Definition
An oil spill is a form of environmental pollution. It is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment as a result of human activity. The term ‘oil spill’ is most commonly used in the context of marine oil spills where crude oil, refined petroleum products or by-products, ships' bunkers, oily refuse or oil mixed in waste is released into the ocean or coastal waters. Costs incurred for removing oil spills is very high, and it may take several months or in some cases many years to clean up the spills.
Marine oil spills may take place due to variety of reasons. Some of these are:
Carelessness or mistakes on the part oil tanker owner.
Breaking down of an equipment in the tanker/vessel.
Oil release into the environment from natural geologic seeps on the sea floor.
Acts of terrorism, whereby there is intentional oil spills.
Hostile acts. When two nations are at war, one may decide to dump gallons of oil into the other national’s oceans.
Natural disasters such as hurricanes.