Pollution at Sea

Anchorage off Oman

Anchorage off Oman

Flight STS-6; 25.5N, 56.5E, 7 April 1983

Concern arose in the spring of 1983 regarding the extent of the pollution in the Persian Gulf from the Kharg Island oil platforms in the northern part of the gulf. The crew aboard the Challenger, on her maiden flight, was asked to observe and photograph the area. The surface oil was easily recognized from the shuttle's flight deck by the brilliant iridescent colors visible in the sun's glitter pattern, though those colors were not reproduced in the photographs.
    Most impressive to the astronaut observers was the evidence that by April much of the oil spreading from the northern Persian Gulf had passed through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf of Oman. Massive petroleum slicks were observed moving into an already polluted storage anchorage for supertankers off the northern coast of Oman.

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Contents Pollution next: Oil dumps, slicks, Persian Gulf