Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Most shipwrecks a minor U.S. pollution threat, study says

A new government report details 87 shipwrecks — most sunk during World War II — that could pollute U.S. waters with tens of millions of gallons of oil.

Even so, the potential for pollution is less than scientists had expected. The report released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concludes "the scope of the problem is much more manageable than initially feared. … Our coastlines are not littered with 'ticking time bombs.' "

Agency officials estimate that far less oil will leak into the ocean than the BP oil spill of 2010, which spewed about 200 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico. "That's not a bad number in comparison to what we first thought it would be," said NOAA's Lisa Symons, who wrote the study.

There are 20,000 shipwrecked vessels that lie off the nation's coastlines. Most of those either finished leaking long ago, ran on coal instead of oil, are too small or aren't near vulnerable land. "There are only six that really keep me up at night, but we don't know where they all really are," Symons said. Those six have the biggest potential to foul coastal areas because even if they spill only 10 percent of their oil, they could cause a local-scale disaster.

Symons said NOAA doesn't know the exact location of all six of them, just where they were last seen before they sank. Three of the six sites are off Florida: One is near Jupiter, another is 25 miles north of the Florida Keys, and the other is south of the Keys.

The three other sites are 100 miles southeast of Savannah, Ga.; 50 miles east of Charleston, S.C.; and 60 miles north of Montauk Point, N.Y.

By the numbers

20,000

Shipwrecked vessels that lie off the U.S. coastlines

52 Ships identified as potential polluters that were lost in World War II

17 Ships that need to be investigated further to see if the oil can be removed

Most shipwrecks a minor U.S. pollution threat, study says 05/20/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 20, 2013 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Largo commissioners raise ceiling on next year's property tax rate

    Local Government

    LARGO — The proposed budget included a recommendation for the property tax rate to remain the same, but city commissioners on Tuesday unanimously voted to increase the maximum rate in a move to give city officials more flexibility.

    City Manager Henry Schubert says the city needs to take a look at its operation.
  2. Allegiant Air reports $400 million in revenue for second quarter

    Airlines
    Allegiant Air CEO Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. | [Courtesy of Tony Jannus Aviation Society]
  3. Dade City's Wild Things touts cub encounters as conservation, but experts say they lead to too many tigers languishing in cages

    Wildlife

    DADE CITY — A lifelong animal lover, Lisa Graham was intrigued when she saw photos on social media of friends cuddling and petting baby tigers at zoos.

    A tiger named Andy is seen at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Big Cat Rescue is a nonprofit sanctuary committed to humane treatment of rescued animals, often coming from exploitive for-profit operations. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times

  4. Once close to death in Ukraine, sick girl finds hope in Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    Everything was packed for Walt Disney World. Clothes for three nights. The pressurized air vest and pump that travel with her. The dress she would wear to meet Cinderella.

    Marina Khimko, 13, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment Dec. 7 at the Shriners Hospital for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
  5. What you need to know for Thursday, July 27

    News

    href="http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2015/graphics/macros/css/base.css"> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Marina Khimko, now 14, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment at the Shriners Hospitals for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]