On November 13, 2002, the Greek tanker The Prestige began losing its cargo of #6 bunker crude oil after one of its tanks burst off the northwest coast of Spain. The Spanish government decided to allow the tanker to sink, despite concerns of widespread contamination. By December’s end, the tanker had lost 80% of it’s haul (more than 77,000 tons). Thousands of kilometres of coastline were polluted including more than one thousand beaches on the Spanish, French and Portuguese coasts. In addition the spill had a devastating impact on the local fishing industry, sea life and water fowl. The spill is the largest environmental disaster of Spain’s and Portugal’s history.
Initially the spill was treated with conventional detergents and chemicals. Dispersing the oil and making it sink to the bottom of the sea does not deal with the problem and after a number of years, when the detergents disintegrated, the oil reappeared on Spanish shores and waters. Realising that conventional methods did not solve the problem, the Spanish Government decided that it would look at bioremediation.
After several months of extensive testing of a number of bioremediation products on the market, Nanobite Liquid (known as S-200 in the USA) obtained by far the best results. Experiments on the rocky shore of Salvora (part of the Atlantic Islands National Parks) showed how in less than six months, and with only two applications, Nanobite Liquid biodegraded 100% of the Prestige oil that was treated including the 23% asphaltenes present in the oil. Nanobite Liquid starts where other products stop: at the oil/environment interface. When applied, Nanobite liquid bonds with the oil, stopping it from sinking or spreading, and creating an environment that selectively stimulated the rapid multiplication of natural, oil eating microorganisms.
The oil, when combined an encapsulated with Nanobite, is digested and broken down into its harmless components – CO2 and H2O.
In this hard environment and exposed to the Atlantic climate conditions (cold, wind, storms, and waves) Nanobite Liquid showed its ability to stay attached to the contaminant and remain there until the conditions were appropriate for microbial growth and therefore bioremediation.
With these spectacular results, Spanish authorities concluded that Nanobite Liquid was the best solution to address the bioremediation of the #6 bunker oil spillage caused when The Prestige sank and it was selected as “best in class”. Consequently the National Parks Organization (Spain) decided to bioremediate the spill on all the islands close to Salvora with Nanobite Liquid. Based on these results, the Spanish authorities decided to continue the cleanup of other areas of the Galician coast with the liquid.
Consequently the Spanish government’s agency for maritime pollution has granted approval and authorisation for Nanobite liquid to be used as an environmental remediation product.