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PT13 Global Fate of POPs
(PT215) Evidence of oil leakage from the Bahía Paraíso wreck in Arthur Bay, Antarctica.
Janiot, L.1, Sericano, J.2, Marcucci, O.1, 1 Servicio de Hidrografía Naval - Departamento Oceanografía, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina2 Geochemical and Environmental Research Group - Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, U.S.A.
ABSTRACT- On January 28, 1989, the vessel Bahía Paraíso ran aground near Anvers Island on the Antarctic Peninsula while in its mission to bring supplies to an Argentine base. Over 600,000 L of Antarctic gas oil were released covering an area of nearly 100 Km2. Although most of the oil was rapidly recovered from the wreck, personnel from Palmer Station, U.S.A., continued to report the presence of oil slicks in the area a few years after the spill. In 1996, scientists of the Dirección Nacional del Antártico, Argentina, collected water, sediment and biota samples from the area. The analyses of these samples indicated the presence of hydrocarbons from the cargo of the Bahía Paraíso in water but not in sediment or biota samples. Twelve years after the grounding of the Bahía Paraíso, personnel of the Servicio de Hidrografía Naval (SHN) have returned to the wreck area to study the possible presence of hydrocarbons emanating from the vessel. During sampling, it was possible to observe a patchy thin film of oil coming from the section of the ship that is still above water level. Samples collected under this oil slick presented the highest concentrations of hydrocarbons in the area (range= <0.10-138 g/L). Although the profiles of the chromatograms corresponding to these samples showed the loss of the more volatile components the similarity of these chromatograms with that corresponding to Antarctic gas oil was evident. This study suggests that there is a leak of Antarctic gas oil from the remains of Bahía Paraíso. Because of the high-energy of the sea in this area and the volatility of this oil, it is not expected that these inputs of hydrocarbons, whether episodic or chronic, constitute a severe problem for the local biota.
Key words: seawater, oil, Antarctica
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