Dicky's Doodles &Scribbles

Cartoons,editorials and comment about current events and more.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Recalling Ixtoc I

Ixtoc I was a well drilled by Pemex (Petroleos Mexicanos) off shore of the Yucatan in the Bay of Campeche. The drilling platform was owned by SEDCO, a company owned by then Governor of Texas, Republican Bill Clements.
In the Spring ( I think) of 1979 it blew out and spilled oil into the gulf at a tremendous rate. It pumped for over six months until relief wells permitted them to cap the flow.
The drilling rig had been towed into deeper water and scuttled before investigators could look into the cause of the blowout.
Gov. Clements said at the time "It was not a big deal."
It was a big deal.
Once Clements came to the coastal bend area here to talk with those affected by the spill. As his helicopter approached he was warned there was a hostile crowd awaiting so he just flew away without landing.
Oil flowed up the coast and coated Texas beaches, leeched into the wetlands, killed birds and fouled nesting areas. Shrimp and other fisheries were extensively damaged. All this sounds kinda familiar doesn't it?
For years afterwards beach goers carried dish washing detergent and other such things along with rolls of paper towels to clean tar from feet.. Our surfboards carried perpetual tar gobs on them and beach car floor boards became encrusted with tar. Eventually it dissipated with big sheets sinking to the sea floor. Occasionally storms would break loose some of these deposits which would duly wash ashore.
Now days there seems to be little sign of it when you go to the beach and when tar does still wash ashore infrequently it is usually attributed to "natural" seepage, something I don't really recall prior to Ixtoc.

Click on pic for larger image

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