Select Justice
Expertise
Giving Back
About
Blog

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: 13 Years Later

Author
Amanda Turner
March 20, 2023

Thirteen years have passed since the devastating oil spill caused by the explosion of Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig located in the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, located off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. 

The explosion and subsequent sinking of the rig resulted in the immediate deaths of 11 workers and the immediate injury of 17 more. In addition to the loss of life caused the day of the explosion, the health and well-being of people, wildlife, and the environment in the area continues to be negatively affected by the ongoing effects of the spill. 

Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one suffered from a health condition and/or property damage related to the 2010 BP oil spill, you may be entitled to compensation

line

Also known as the BP oil spill, the event is recorded as the largest oil spill to occur in the history of marine drilling. It took the oil company 87 days to cap the spill, during which four million barrels of oil flowed through the ocean, reaching nearby shores. In December of 2010, the U.S. filed a formal complaint against BP Exploration & Production, as well as other defendants accused of causing the spill. 

In September of 2014, BP Exploration & Production was found guilty of reckless conduct and gross negligence, causing the oil spill. The company is responsible for paying $20.8 billion in fines. A Wikileaks document showed that it’s likely that BP knew the spill could occur if they continued operating the oil rig, as a similar incident happened with one of their rigs in the Caspian Sea in September of 2008. The company knew that the concrete mixture they used to develop the core of the rig contained nitrogen, making it too weak to handle the pressure of the natural gas below. Nitrogen-ridden concrete was used in an effort to speed up the curing of the core, allowing the company to maximize their profit by accelerating the development process. 

Effects on Marine Life

Oil spill cleanup

Wildlife suffered long-reaching consequences as a result of the oil spill. Birds, mammals, and sea turtles in the area were covered in oil. Three years after the spill, a study of dolphins off of the coast of Louisiana showed that more than half of them were extremely sick, suffering from lung problems and adrenal issues, both which have been proven to be linked to oil exposure.

As of 2015, 1,400 dolphins and whales were found stranded on Gulf Coast shores–a figure which only represents a tiny fraction of the impact of the oil spill on ocean mammals. Birds were also especially affected by the spill, as many of the animals ingested the oil in an attempt to clean their feathers. Other birds struggled to regulate their body temperatures as a result of the spill. It’s estimated that 800,000 birds died as a result of the spill.

Deepwater Horizon and the Local Economy

The effects of the BP oil spill on the economy of the Gulf Coast have been devastating. During the peak of the oil spill, more than 33% of the area’s fishing areas were closed. While this step was necessary to prevent fishing in contaminated waters, many fishing and ocean tourism companies lost their livelihood. A moratorium enacted by President Obama was reversed by a district court resulting in leaving up to 12,000 people being unemployed for a time. 

Much of the Gulf Coast area depends on tourism to support its economy, and vacationers were few on the oil-covered beachers. There was a $20 billion compensation fund created by BP following demands of the government, but by 2013, nearly all of the funds had been depleted. It was later discovered that a lack of oversight when it came to paying out the claims allowed government groups to submit inflated claims (some of which had nothing to do with the oil spill). 

Environmental Cleanup Efforts

Despite the fact that oil doesn’t mix with water, it’s incredibly difficult to clean up. Oil spill cleanup efforts–including the effort made by BP to clean up the Deepwater Horizon disaster–typically use dispersants, which are chemicals that break down the oil, which causes the oil to break into smaller particles that mix with water. This is done in an effort to stop oil from forming large pools known as slicks, but doesn’t actually do anything to remove the oil from the water. 

Cleanup Workers: Is Their Health at Risk?

Sadly, the process of cleaning up an oil spill can have negative health effects on the people who are working to help the environment recover. Health effects of oil spills can be grouped into two categories: psychological and physical. 

Potential psychological effects of cleaning up an oil spill can include: 

  • Increased stress
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Increased risk of perpetrating or being the victim of domestic abuse
  • Increased risk of substance abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders
  • Decrease in self-care activities (such as exercising and getting enough sleep)

Potential physical effects of cleaning up an oil spill can include: 

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Fatigue
  • Dermatitis
  • Immune system, genetic, and hormonal issues caused by oil-related toxicity
  • Increased cancer risk
  • Injuries caused by dispersant equipment

Many people who tried to do the right thing by working cleanup efforts are not suffering lifelong negative effects. Many people are struggling with the loss of loved ones, economic issues due to being out of work due to health issues caused by the oil spill, and ever-increasing medical bills due to problems following cleanup efforts. 

Lawsuits Against BP: Do You Qualify?

If you’re one of the many people who has suffered negative consequences after participating in the cleanup of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, you’re not alone, and we’re here to help. We invite you to reach out to one of our advocates today for a free case evaluation to help you understand whether you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one suffered from a health condition and/or property damage related to the 2010 BP oil spill, you may be entitled to compensation

line

Related Articles

February 13, 2023
The Lasting Impact of the BP Oil Spill on Gulf Coast Communities

Unfortunately, many of the negative impacts have lasted for years and still continue today. It’s unclear just how long the Gulf Coast might deal with the aftermath of the oil spill. 

Read More

About us

We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.

Social Media

Stay updated!
Join us to learn more

Facebook IconYouTube IconTwitter Icon

© Copyright Jazz Media Ltd. 2024. All rights reserved

About us

We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.

Facebook IconYouTube IconTwitter Icon

© Copyright Jazz Media Ltd. 2020. All rights reserved

crossmenuchevron-down