A great deal of effort was made to ensure that the oil did not reach the shore, however, because of the rough seas and the isolated location of the tanker it was impossible to deploy an effective offshore recovery operation and no oil could be recovered from the ship before it broke up. High winds and currents meant that booms were largely ineffective in preventing the oil from reaching the shorelines. An exception to this was the 2.5 mile long boom deployed to protect the Bay of Morlaix which worked effectively because the area was relatively sheltered.
There was, however, limited use of detergents to disperse the oil because people had discovered, after the Torrey Canyon oil spill at Land's End in 1967, that they only increased the pollution problem and caused problems all of their own. The stormy conditions also increased the amount of sediment and plant detritus in the water which further limited the use of cleanup equipment such as skimmers as the pumps were repeatedly blocked. Several tonnes of dispersants were used firstly to prevent further emulsification and secondly to aid the break down of the slick. Rubber powder and chalk sinking agents were also applied in a fine powder although by this time the oil was too viscous and the powder could not mix with the oil.
|Fig.1Oil spilled from the Amoco Cadiz reaches the French shore |
|Photo care of the Office of Response and Restoration, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
Where the oil did get washed ashore it had to be removed. On the beaches, oil penetrated the sand to a depth of 20 inches. The army undertook...