Sweden, 2011

In the middle of September, people living on the island of Tjörn in western Sweden started to report that they had found oil on the seashores. The coastguard sent out boats and airplanes and soon realized that what people had found was only a small part of a massive oil-spill. It all came as a surprise to Swedish authorities. No-one knew where it came from.

As the coastguard continued to find more oil on the shores of small islets near Tjörn, suspicions soon suggested that the oil came from a ship collision outside northern Denmark a week earlier. When the cargo ship Golden Trader and a small fishing boat collided, the Danish coastguard sent a warning to Sweden that an oil-spill might be on it´s way. This would make it possible to clean up the oil already at sea, before it was swept up on the shores. But the information never reached Sweden.

A month after the first oil was found, some 800 tons had been gathered from the coastlines of Tjörn, making it the biggest oil-spill ever in western Sweden. It will take years before the remediation work is over, and even then, all oil wont be cleaned off the rocks.

Copyright © Erik Abel.