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How do oil spills occur?

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Quick Answer

KidzWorld explains that oil spills occur when people cause an oil tanker, a ship that carries oil from one place to another, to leak oil into the sea. Carelessness in maneuvering oil tankers typically causes an oil spill. Illegal dumpers also dump crude oil into the ocean to avoid spending money on decomposing their waste oil.

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Full Answer

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, also cause oil spills, according to KidzWorld. However, most of the time, people are the ones who spill oil into the ocean, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Oil spills are harmful to animals in many ways. Birds die when their feathers get coated in oil, as they become poisoned when they try to clean their feathers. Moreover, animals die due to hypothermia, which causes their body temperature to drop to an extremely low level. Oil can also poison animals by entering their lungs or liver. Another harmful effect of oil spill is when it gets into the eyes of animals who can then no longer watch out for predators.

According to HowStuffWorks, the sources of oil spills are supertankers, offshore oil drilling rigs, coastal storage facilities and underwater pipelines. When an oil spill occurs, oil creates a millimeter-thick slick that floats on water. Eventually, the oil spreads out and becomes thinner until it turns into a widespread sheen on the water.

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