A system of containment to prevent oil spills from sunken tankers

Antonio García-Olivares, Almudena Agüero, Bernd J. Haupt, María J. Marcos, María V. Villar, José L. de Pablos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Worldwide tank spills represent 10% of the average annual input of oil in the sea. When such spills arise from wrecks at depth, neutralisation of environmental impacts is difficult to achieve. Extracting oil from sunken tankers is expensive, and, unfortunately, all of the oil cannot be extracted, as the Prestige case demonstrates. We propose an environmentally appropriate, cost-effective and proactive method to stop the long-term problem of leaks from sunken tankers similar to the Prestige. This method confines the wreck with a “sediment” capping of sepiolite mineral that emulates a natural sediment. A set of experiments and simulations shows that sepiolite has the characteristics necessary to accomplish the confinement of any current or future sunken tanker with minimal environmental perturbation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-252
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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