Half a million liters of oil dumped annually in North Sea
A 20-year study has revealed that around a half a million liters of oil is dumped illegally into the North Sea, causing untold damage to the environment and wildlife in the area.
The study, conducted on behalf of the Environmental Crime Department of the Politieacademie, employed coastguard aircraft to track vessels which discharge oil into the sea, thus evading regulations which require them to either burn it onboard or discharge while docked.
The aircraft takes photographs of oil slicks which ships discharge from above, so that charges can be brought against the perpetrators. However, the study has noted that no strong evidence can be collected after sunset and with that knowledge ships have been doing the majority of their dumping at night.
The North Sea is one of the busiest and most polluted seas in the world and 60 percent of sea birds found dead on North Sea beaches are covered in oil.
However, only 10 percent of coastal birds outside of the shipping lanes are found smeared in oil, further demonstrating the impact which illegal oil dumping has on the North Sea.
Although the number of illegal discharges has fallen by over three quarters since 1992, the number of fines handed out for illegal dumping in the Netherlands is "exceptionally low," the report notes.