Estimating heavy oil release rates from sunken vessels in deep marine waters

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



A numerical modeling approach was developed to predict the release rate and subsequent rise velocity of heavy, viscous oil escaping from a circular hole in a sunken vessel in deep marine waters. The model formulation considers the effects of oil density, viscosity, temperature, and ambient receiving water conditions on the release. Application of the model to predict the oil release rates from the Prestige, located on the seabed, gave results that are consistent with independent estimates, i.e., oil release rates of 12-120 ton/day 30 days after the spill. The model predicted oil strands with diameters on the order of 3 mm, consistent with the observations. Model predictions also showed that the oil release rates will continue to decrease with time as the oil cools to ambient, near seabed temperatures and the oil viscosity increases. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 27th Arctic and Marine Oil Spill Program Technical Seminar (Edmonton, Alberta 6/8-10/2004).

Publication Title

Environment Canada Arctic and Marine Oil Spill Program Technical Seminar (AMOP) Proceedings





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