Date of Award

Spring 1984

Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The most disastrous oil spill the western hemisphere has ever witnessed occurred during the 10 months between June 1979 and March 1980, when the experimental well IXTOC I blew out off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The disaster's effects on South Texas virtually destroyed a year's earnings for the region's tourism industry and cut into the profits of many commercial fishermen. The activities at the well that caused the blowout and subsequent spill, the effects of the oil on Texas' Gulf Coast, and the legal attempts to recover against losses suffered as a result of the spill will be examined.