Deep sea time bomb? (Photo).
BLACK PLAGUE: An oil-soaked bird flaps its wings on a beach in northern Spain, following a November oil spill. An aging tanker broke apart and sank in the Atlantic, creating what environmentalists called "a time bomb at the bottom of the sea." Some 2.7 million gallons of fuel oil spilled initially, befouling 180 miles of coastline. But the ship went down carrying an additional 18 million gallons of oil--nearly twice the amount release in the infamous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska. That spill killed hundreds of thousands of marine animals and cost $2.1 billion to clean up.