HC Deb 05 March 1970 vol 797 c142W
54. Sir John Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average speed at which oil slicks travel at sea; what is the maximum distance which oil slicks have travelled in British waters; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Fowler

The movement of oil is largely determined by the prevailing wind, but is also affected by currents, tidal streams and the nature and density of the oil. Oil tends to move at about 3.5 per cent. of the wind speed, but no firm figure can be given. Some of the "Torrey Canyon" oil moved 180 nautical miles.