An Iranian oil tanker ablaze off China's east coast could spark the latest in a long list of environmental disasters caused by spills:
- Shipwreck calamities -
- ATLANTIC EMPRESS AND AEGEAN CAPTAIN - 1979: The two Greek-registered tankers collide and catch fire off Tobago in the West Indies, spilling an estimated 287,000 tonnes of crude and leading to the death of 30 sailors.
- ABT SUMMER - 1991: Loaded with 260,000 tonnes of crude, the Liberian-registered tanker explodes some 1,300 kilometres (900 miles) off the coast of Angola. The ship burns for three days before sinking with its cargo.
- CASTILLO DE BELLVER - 1983: The Spanish oil tanker runs aground off Saldanha Bay in South Africa, spilling 250,000 tonnes of oil.
- AMOCO CADIZ - 1978: 227,000 tonnes of oil wash up on 400 kilometres (250 miles) of French coastline when the Liberian-registered supertanker sinks off the western tip of Brittany.
- HAVEN - 1991: The Cypriot oil tanker sinks off Italy's Gulf of Genoa after fires destroy most of its 144,000-tonne cargo.The remainder of the oil forms a slick polluting the coast of Liguria in Italy and Provence in France.
- THE ODYSSEY - 1988: The British ship carrying 132,000 tonnes of oil sinks with its 27-member crew in the Atlantic around 1,300 kilometres (900 miles) from the Canadian coast.
- TORREY CANYON - 1967: 121,000 tonnes of oil pollute the coast off southern England, and France after the grounding of the Liberian-registered supertanker.
Other oil tanker shipwrecks may have involved less oil, but still caused major environmental damage. These include the Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989, the Sea Empress off Wales in 1996, the Erika in France in 1999 and the Prestige in Spain 2002.
- Oil rig spillages -
- 1979: GULF OF MEXICO - Around one million tonnes of oil gush from the Ixtoc-Uno well after an explosion on a rig operated by the Mexican state oil company Pemex. Capping the leak takes nine months.
- 1991: GULF WAR - Around one million tonnes is the estimated spillage when Iraqi forces set fire to Kuwaiti oil wells during the Gulf War. Hundreds of kilometres/ miles of coastline are polluted.
- 2010: UNITED STATES - The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico, leaves 11 dead and leads to the spillage of more than 600,000 tonnes of oil.