Ocean Alliance and Sea Shepherd join forces in Operation Toxic Gulf
It has now been three years since the BP toxic waste catastrophe in the Gull of Mexico, yet to date we continue to minimize by referring to it as the Gulf spill. A spill generally occurs when you knock over your drink or when you overfill your car’s fuel tank. The 200 million gallons (plus) of crude oil that were released into the Gulf between April 20th and July 15th 2010 hardly fall in this category. On top of that the 2 million gallons of chemical dispersants BP used to break up and sink the oil, only further aggravated the disaster, by dispersing the oil into the food chain and making the oil up to 52 times more toxic (Source Environmental Pollution – http://phys.org/news/2012-11-gulf-mexico-clean-up-times-toxic.html).
Since 2010 Ocean Alliance has been studying the long-term effects of the Gulf of Mexico disaster and the chemical dispersants BP used to sink the oil out of sight (a step that only removes it from view but does not render it harmless) on sea life in the Gulf. The Gulf data collected since 2010 are both robust and unique, but Ocean Alliance needs help from Sea Shepherd to keep this work going and bring it to the world’s attention. One way this may be achieved is by filing class action lawsuits against BP and the manufacturers of oil dispersing chemicals—the grounds are environmental degradation.
From June to August 2013, Ocean Alliance and Sea Shepherd will embark on a voyage ‘Operation Toxic Gulf’ aboard the research vessel Odyssey to collect data on the environment as well as the life forms in the Gulf of Mexico. With this data we expect to have further proof of the extent of the disaster that was caused by BP in 2010. All the data will be acquired in a non-lethal manner.
Ocean Alliance has the scientific partners and expertise and Sea Shepherd will arrange for media exposure. Our crews will work together to highlight the current situation. To us it is obvious that the massive stranding of dead dolphins and other marine life in recent months is only the beginning of an environmental catastrophe that could last well into this century. Only by accepting the facts can we prevent future disasters from happening. The chemical dispersants for instance are still being used, despite their toxic characteristics. The Exxon Valdez disaster at eleven million gallons of oil was only a small fraction of the Deep Water Horizon disaster. Yet 24 years later a Pod of 22 Orcas that lived in Prince William Sound is now functionally extinct. Nine died in the year after the spill but more importantly no calves have been born to this pod since the event. Today only seven members remain.
Ocean Alliance and Sea Shepherd intend to build a strategic partnership to provide the data needed to understand the magnitude of these threats and to make the world vividly aware of the urgent need to end ocean pollution. Although these two organizations employ different approaches, Ocean Alliance and Sea Shepherd pursue the same goal: the conservation of ocean life. Ocean Alliance specializes in scientific research about, and advocacy for ocean life (particularly in regard to whales), while Sea Shepherd specializes in direct action against, and public exposure of the despoilers of ocean life (particularly in regard to whales). Clearly, the approaches of Ocean Alliance and Sea Shepherd are complementary; by working as a team we can increase each other’s effectiveness.