Oil Rig - Timor Sea
© Unknown
In August 2009, up to 30,000 tonnes of oil spilled into the Timor Sea after the West Atlas oil rig began leaking oil and gas
March 24, 1989 - The oil tanker Exxon Valdez hits Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef in Alaska, spilling 40.9 million litres of crude oil. It is thought to be one of the worst man made environmental disasters ever.

1991 - The Gulf War oil spill is estimated to be the largest oil spill in history. In order to ward of a potential landing by United States marines, the Iraqi military dumped up to 1.5 million tonnes of oil from several tankers into the Persian Gulf. The oil damaged the ecosystem in the Persian Gulf, around Kuwait and Iraq.

February 15, 1996 - The oil tanker MV Sea Empress hits rocks while entering the Cleddau Estuary in Wales, spilling up to 73,000 tonnes of oil into the bay. The spill was particularly deadly to the local bird population.

December 12, 1999 - The oil tanker MV Erika sinks off the coast of France after a heavy storm. The tanker released thousands of tonnes of oil which killed marine life and washed up on shores around Brittany, France.

November 19, 2002 - The oil tanker Prestige sinks off the coast of Spain after being damaged in a storm. Up to 20 million gallons of oil leaked into the ocean, washing up on more than 1,000 beaches on the Spanish and French coast.

July, 2006 - Up to 30,000 tonnes of oil leaked into the Mediterranean after the storage tanks at the Jiyeah Power Station were bombed during the Israel-Lebanon conflict that year. The slick killed fish and there are fears it may have increased the risk of cancer.

December 7, 2007 - The MT Hebei Spirit leaked around 10,800 tonnes of oil into South Korea's Yellow Sea, after a collision with a crane barge. The slick affected local sea farms and up to 40 beaches.

March 11, 2009 - Around 230 tonnes of fuel oil and 620 tonnes of ammonium nitrate leaked into the ocean north of Moreton Bay in Queensland after unsecured cargo on the Pacific Adventurer shifted during a cyclone. The spill washed up on 60 kilometres of coastline in south-east Queensland, however authorities say the full environmental cost is unknown.

August 21, 2009 - Up to 30,000 tonnes of oil spilled into the Timor Sea off the north-west Australian coast after the West Atlas oil rig began leaking oil and gas.

April 3, 2010 - The bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1 runs aground east of Rockhampton in Central Queensland. Around three to four tonnes of fuel oil leaked into the ocean and around three kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef was severely damaged.

April 20, 2010 - A massive explosion rips through Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the United States coast, killing 11 people. The explosion sinks the rig, owned by BP, and some six million litres of oil begin spilling into the sea, threatening the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. US President Barack Obama describes it as an "unprecedented" environmental disaster.