Prof. Ron Edwards, (Chairman Sea Empress Environmental Evaluation Committee) and Dr Ian White
Paper presented at The International Oil Spill Conference 1999, 7-12 March 1999, Seattle, USA
72.000 tonnes of light crude oil were released from the Sea Empress at the entrance to Milford Haven, South Wales over a 7 day period in February 1996, in an area of exceptional environmental value for wildlife, tourism and natural beauty. Natural factors (time of year, wind direction) coupled with effective clean-up at sea (through chemical dispersion) and on shore, minimised environmental impact. Nevertheless, there were adverse effects on fisheries, wildlife - particularly overwintering birds, tourism and amenity. (Human health studies have not been completed). Recovery, although not complete, has been encouraging although some wildlife populations remain depleted and further monitoring is needed, including of fish stocks.