Under the sea floor, in many parts of the world, lie vast reserves of oil and gas.
In these times of astronomical petrol prices, oil has come to mean a lot, politically and economically.
Naturally, oil-companies are competing to explore and drill under the sea for this valuable resource.
However, exploring, drilling, and transport can seriously damage sensitive marine areas and disturb marine species.
One of the deadliest ways oil can destroy an eco-system is through oil-spills.
An oil spill occurs when a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon is released into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity.
Though oil spills can be controlled by chemical dispersion, combustion and mechanical containment, it may take weeks, months or even years to clean up.
By then, the oil would have seeped into the fur of marine birds and animals, interfering with their swimming and breathing abilities. Baby animals are abandoned when the smell of oil prevents their parents from following their scent. Oil can also blind an animal, leaving it vulnerable to prey.
The largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry was the Deepwater horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon was a 9-year-old offshore drilling unit which exploded due to a methane leak on 20 April 2010. The resulting oil spill flowed unabated for three months in 2010, and may be continuing to seep even now. The explosion killed 11 men.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, since 1 January 2011, 67 dead dolphins have been found in the area affected by the oil spill, with 35 of them premature or newborn calves.