Consequences of the BP Oil Spill

Consequences of the BP Oil Spill

Societal Consequences

The BP oil spill had significant adverse impacts on societies at the Mexico Gulf and beyond. The outcomes can be observed from the human point of view and ecosystem point of view. Different communities living in the region where the spill occurred suffered adverse impacts on their livelihoods. According to Vaughan, the spill had a significant effect on the tourism sector.The community at the Mexico border relies on sports fishing activities. Hotels and restaurants had to cancel reservations when the spill occurred due to water and air pollution that had engulfed the region.

            The BP oil spill had both short-term and long-term consequences on the health of the communities living in the region.Some of these consequences emerged the time the oil was burning and during the process of clearing the ocean from contaminants. Volunteers did not take practical measures to avoid coming in contact with gas fumes used to clean the ocean. Additionally, chemicals sprayed on the ocean and land areas are health hazards to people and the ecosystem.People exposed to chemicals and air pollutants during and after the oil spill are at risk of suffering respiratory diseases from the contaminants.

            The fishing industry was directly affected by the BP oil spill. BP did not put enough measures in place to secure the aquatic life. The cleaning processes sought to save fish but ignored the fate of plants and other marine life.Litchveld explains that chemicals pumped in the ocean to break the oil billows are treated as trade secrets. This makes it impossible for one to predict the short-term and long-term impact of the spill on aquatic life.Another effect is the direct use of toxic chemicals to disperse the crude. This implies that more aquatic life is affected as the cleaning process continues.The cleaning process is an injustice to marine life as that may have survived direct consequences of the spill.

Personal Actions

Personal actions involve activities carried out during and after the spill.Some of these consequences are direct while others are indirect.Residents of the Gulf region took personal issues with the company for failing to take responsibility in the spill. Instead of the company compensating the affected families and accepting liability, it opted for long legal processes that sought to clear it of unethical activities. This created animosity between the company and residents who felt that they had a moral right to protect their livelihood.

Engineering Consequences

The BP oil spill attracted criticisms on engineering processes and measures that engineers could have put in place to seal the well when oil catches fire. According to Litchveld, engineers that had designed the well had used the latest method and had failed to take necessary measures that could have helped prevent fire. Once the fire had started, it was impossible to put it out due to the failure of the hydrostatic control to stop the initial ignition. As a result, the fire continued gutting through the well after the initial mechanical failure.This triggered a blame game between the company and its engineers. BP Oil Company has a history of cost-cutting. The company may have decided to forego the safety of the well and humanity at large by opting for cheaper designs with the goal of saving on costs. The morality of engineers is at stake in this case. Even though the engineer needs to strike a balance between the cost of labor and quality, it is necessary that quality principles take priority.

Commercial Consequences

The BP oil spill had direct and indirect adverse economic consequences. The fishing and hospitality industries were the first to fill the pinch.Air pollution and water pollution from the spill caused the death of fish, leading to loss of fishing activities. Tourists could not travel to the region that had been affected by the spill. Recreational fishing activities were halted to allow cleaning activities to take place. Investors lost revenue as they could not carry out their routine tourist and fishing activities. In spite of these adverse consequences, some hoteliers benefitted from the spill. For instance, scientists from different parts of the world traveled to the place to study and assess the impact of the spill. Guests booked rooms to stay in as they examined and evaluated the on-going cleaning processes.

BP Oil Company was the direct victim of the economic consequences of the spill. According to Vaughan, BPstocks dropped by fifty-one percent at the New York stock exchange after the spill went public.Mainstream media picked stories from the incident, tainting the image and reputation of the company.The company also lost a total of one hundred and five billion. The consequences of these losses were transferred to investors who had pumped their investments in the company.BP Oil Company was also drawn into legal battles for its negligence and failure to tame and protect the environment. Individuals, governments, and international agencies filed lawsuits against the company. Eleven people lost their lives from the spill, leading to compensation claims from their family members. The company had to incur the costs of settling compensation claims and paying its lawyers for legal battles that lasted more than six years.

BP has suffered long-term financial consequences due to the spill. In 2010, the company set aside $20 billion in funds for compensational claims. However, it has been impossible for the firm to determine the victims eligible for compensation. Vaughan explains that the compensation costs hit $65 billion in 2016 and could continue rising more as many people come forward to claim compensations. Vaughan explains that by the end of 2016, four hundred and fifty thousand claimants had filed compensation claims.The families of the eleven people that died from the inferno are yet to be compensated in full.

Legal Consequences

The BP oil spill caused social and economic harms that attracted legal consequences for the company.According to Vaughan, eleven people died from the explosion that occurred from the company’s negligent activities. The families of the victims filed lawsuits to claim compensation from the company. Other environmental organizations also filed lawsuits against the company due to its failure to secure the well from the explosion.Businesspeople filed lawsuits for loss of economic profits and sources of income. Rental property owners and hoteliers sought compensation for canceled bookings.They felt that they had a moral right to claim compensation from the company for failing to protect their property from the explosion.Some residents also filed lawsuits for property damage from fire and pollution from the fire.

During the cleaning process, residents filed lawsuits against the agencies that had volunteered to carry out the cleaning process. They felt that their health was at risk, considering that toxic dispersants were being used to spread crude on the ocean.BP’s shareholders felt that they had a right to be compensated for the loss of the share value of the company. BP was not sincere with the shareholders.When the company’s shares plummeted, the cost was transferred to shareholders.

Works Cited

Litchveld, Maureen et al. “The Deep-water Horizon Oil Spill through the Lens of Human Health and the Ecosystem.”Current Environmental Health Reports, vol. 3, no. 4, 2016, pp. 370-378.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5112119/. Accessed 6 March 2019

Vaughan, Adam. “BP’s Deep-water Horizon Bill Tops $65bn.”The Guardian.https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/16/bps-deepwater-horizon-bill-tops-65bn. Accessed 6 March 2019

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