The worst oil spill before the supertanker collision off the coast of Tobago was a June 3 blowout at an offshore well in the Gulf of Mexico.
That blowout, near Yucatan Peninsula, has leaked an estimated 1.4 million barrels of light crude oil and still has not been capped. The well continues to leak about 30,000 barrels a day, and officials expect it will be at least three months before a relief well can be drilled to stop the leak.
The worst previous tanker accident involved the Amoco Cadiz, which spilled 1.3 million barrels of crude oil after it ran aground and broke up off the northwestern coast of France in March 1978.
Other major world oil spills include:
The tanker Torrey Canyon ran aground 15 miles off Land's End, England, in March 1967, spilling 820,000 barrels.
The Sea Star sank after a collision in the Gulf of Oman in December 1972, spilling about 800,000 barrels.
The Urquiola ran aground off La Coruna, Spain in May 1976, spilling about 700,000 barrels.
The Hawaiian Patriot caught fire and exploded in the North Pacific, west of Hawaii, in February 1977. About 670,000 barrels spilled.
The worst oil spill along a U.S. coast occurred in December 1976, when the Argo Merchant broke up off Nantucket Island leaking 180,000 barrels.
The famous Santa Barbara, Calif., spill in 1969 involved a leak of 6,000 barrels of oil from a blowout of an offshore well.