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Mar 19 2014

Take that, BP!

It’s nature’s revenge: a marlin attacked an oil pipeline, causing a 5 day shutdown and costing BP over $100 million.

whenmarlinsattack

The attack moose are in training for Keystone XL. It’s not going to be pretty.

43 comments

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  1. 1
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I’m not sure attack mooses (meece? mice? ) will be necessary. Every major oil pipeline ever built has, at fairly regular intervals, been self-leaking.

  2. 2
    cswella

    Poor corporations! Look at the damage nature is doing to the ecosystem of the pipeline!

  3. 3
    Blondin

    How do we know the marlin attacked the pipeline? Did anybody see it happen? Maybe the marlin was just swimming by, noticed a leak and plugged it with his nose.

  4. 4
    Desert Son, OM

    The attack moose are in training for Keystone XL. It’s not going to be pretty.

    “Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti…” -Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975

    Still learning,

    Robert

  5. 5
    Rey Fox

    Jeez, and here I was hoping that they’d gotten slapped with some legal fine or sanction or other.

  6. 6
    richardelguru

    Sod BP! What happened to the Marlin?

  7. 7
    Alverant

    costing BP‘s customers and their lower tier employees and the rest of us taxpayers over $100 million
    FIFY

    What, you don’t think the executives or shareholders are going to pay to clean up their mess?

  8. 8
    mikeyb

    Now, how can we blame this on Obama.

  9. 9
    aleph

    #6: Yeah, agreed. My first thought was “oil and marine life don’t mix well; is the marlin okay?”

  10. 10
    Cuttlefish

    The squid appear to be in training as well…
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2014/03/19/the-squids-embrace/

  11. 11
    davem

    Stuff the Marlin. Wait until the narwhal attack squadron gets its act together.

  12. 12
    ck

    @mikeyb,

    Well, that’s easy. He was in office when it happened. Anytime something bad happens immediately before, during or after a Democratic candidate is in office is their fault, don’t ‘cha know? But BP better not agree to pay to clean this up this time, or Rep Barton of Texas will have to profusely apologize to BP again.

  13. 13
    rq

    Go nature!

  14. 14
    jokboy

    Hmmm. I must say, this photo has aged well. I first saw it when I was working for an oil company in Aus back in the early 2000′s.

  15. 15
    Area Man

    An official from BP confirmed to Bloomberg that the billfish had punctured a hose at the Plutonio field storage barge, forcing a five day stoppage on the transfer of crude — preventing an estimated 900,000 barrels of oil from reaching market and leading to losses of some $100 million.

    The oil may be worth $100 million, but the loss wasn’t $100 million because the oil can still be sold. It just got delayed a bit.

  16. 16
    samihawkins

    Hmmm. I must say, this photo has aged well. I first saw it when I was working for an oil company in Aus back in the early 2000′s.

    The photo might be of different incident, but the story is true:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-13/bp-s-angolan-plutonio-oil-exports-disrupted-after-marlin-attack.html

    I have to join the chorus of people asking what happened to the marlin. I have a soft spot for fish and the thought of that poor fishy getting a mouthful of whatever toxic sludge BP was pumping, ugh…

    *Hugs marlin pillow*

    Don’t worry Martin, I won’t let BP hurt you…

  17. 17
    Ichthyic

    The attack moose are in training for Keystone XL. It’s not going to be pretty.

    just moose?

    …or is it moose and squirrel!

  18. 18
    Ichthyic

    I have to join the chorus of people asking what happened to the marlin. I have a soft spot for fish and the thought of that poor fishy getting a mouthful of whatever toxic sludge BP was pumping, ugh…

    sorry to have to tell you this, but billfish use ram ventilation; they rely on forward motion to force water through the oral cavity and through the gills to breath.

    that marlin is dead as a proverbial door nail, unless somehow they freed it within minutes of it impaling the structure, which I would rather doubt.

    most species of open ocean (pelagic) fishes use ram ventilation, as it is less energy intensive (thus more efficient) than pump-breathing by opening and closing opercula to breathe. When your food is very patchy, and you need to swim long distances to get to it, energy efficiency becomes very highly selected for. It’s also why many pelagic fishes have a counter-current exchange system of blood vessels to keep their primary swimming muscles warmer than ambient.

  19. 19
    Ichthyic

    …. we will always remember the sacrifice of Marlin for the cause of a cleaner, safer world.

    he was a game fish.

    *sniff*

  20. 20
    Usernames are smart

    costing BP‘s customers and their lower tier employees and the rest of us taxpayers over $100 million
    — Alverant (#7)

    Er, probably not. They have boatloads of insurance on those things, so most likely they’ll file a claim and collect the check.

    The best part is oil companies are literally SWIMMING in cash (thanks for the subsidies, Taxpayers!), so they really don’t care: they’ll spend, spend, spend; pay their execs ungodly amounts; and whine that unless they get financial help, they’ll go down and TAKE YER JERBS!!!!

  21. 21
    Ichthyic

    another thought….

    it’s actually unlikely the marlin intentionally “attacked” the pipeline. You have to remember that these are fishes that in their lifetimes are likely never to experience anything even remotely resembling a “wall” in their environment.

    it’s probable it was just chasing fish and ran into it. they don’t swim backwards, and have no way to free themselves from something like that.

  22. 22
    kraut

    “a marlin attacked an oil pipeline”

    Yeah., because a fucking hose is just the same as a pipeline…

  23. 23
    Ichthyic

    Yeah., because a fucking hose is just the same as a pipeline…

    don’t know how you define one, but where I come from, a cylindrical object used to transport oil across distance would be defined as a pipeline.

    doesn’t matter if it’s flexible or not.

    or are you trying for an idiot award? don’t let me stop you if so.

  24. 24
    Ragutis

    Yeah, it was likely chasing something that was nimble enough to dodge in time, while the marlin was not. A marlin bill is pretty strong and sharp, but I imagine it would need some extra force to puncture what’s probably an inch or more of rubber, fiberglass or plastic. Chasing speed rather than cruising speed.
    And yes, oil platforms are like oases for pelagics. Best place to find tuna here in the GoM is an oil platform or following the shrimp boats. Oil platforms attract all kinds of cool critters. There’s tons of videos on youtube to check out. I think PZ posted one of an oarfish filmed by a maintainance ROV not too long ago.

  25. 25
    Hubert Farnsworth

    I will begin training a Grizzly for the Northern Gateway pipeline at once.

  26. 26
    Ichthyic

    but I imagine it would need some extra force to puncture what’s probably an inch or more of rubber, fiberglass or plastic.

    http://gizmodo.com/5896445/this-swordfish-pierced-the-hull-of-a-deep-sea-submarine

  27. 27
    Ichthyic

    nope.

    remember, they weigh hundreds of pounds and can swim up to 50mph or better.

    lots of stories of them penetrating the hulls of ships.

  28. 28
    Ragutis

    It doesn’t seem clear whether that swordy pierced anything or just got it’s bill caught in a seam. Heavy as a blue can be, and pointy as the bills get, I find it unlikely the marlin buried it’s bill to the hilt in that pipe while just casually moseying along. I’d guess that if it wasn’t chasing something, it was pissed off. There’s plenty of instances of hooked billfish attacking and penetrating boats as they’re being reeled in. (And more than a couple of the fisherman being impaled by a leaping fish)

  29. 29
    Ragutis

    Another point comes to mind, billfish typically attack by slashing, not stabbing or ramming.

  30. 30
    Ichthyic

    you don’t understand how physical forces work. when you have a lot of mass moving at high velocity, and it has a very small cross sectional area, a LOT of force gets applied to a very small spot on impact.

    you do know that a slivers of wood traveling fast enough can pierce concrete, don’t you?

    a bullet through steel? what are bullets made of? lead. lead is way softer than steel, yet get a piece of it to high enough velocity, it goes through steel like butter.

    hell, they even reproduced wood going through concrete on mythbusters, using just the wind velocities you would find in a strong hurricane or tornado.

    but hey, you want more direct evidence?

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19461024&id=2CxWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=R-UDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6857,2748094

    there are literally HUNDREDS of documented cases of billfish puncturing boat hulls (wood and steel).

    didn’t you ever take a basic physics course?

    “Another point comes to mind, billfish typically attack by slashing, not stabbing or ramming.”

    they slash as high speed. they don’t just sit there and swing back and forth.

    Ichthyologist here, remember?

  31. 31
    Ichthyic

    It doesn’t seem clear whether that swordy pierced anything or just got it’s bill caught in a seam

    i’m gonna back up here (long day), and assume instead that it’s not that you don’t find it unbelievable that a swordfish could penetrate a steel hull, but rather that you don’t think it did in this case.

    The people who pilot Alvin specifically said in the doco that it did indeed pierce the outer hull.

    you’ll have to take it up with them if you think they were lying or mistaken.

  32. 32
    Christoph Burschka

    The attack moose are in training for Keystone XL. It’s not going to be pretty.

    On that note, I wonder if you can train a cephalopod to do that. The octopus is extremely intelligent, after all…

  33. 33
    geraldo
  34. 34
    Ichthyic

    must be spring in the Northern hemisphere. the trolls are trumpeting their mating calls…

  35. 35
    geraldo
  36. 36
    Ragutis

    Don’t make me fly down there to New Zealand*, Ichthyic…

    Admittedly, my personal experience with marlin is limited to two whites hooked west of Bimini nearly 20 years ago, but I’m just saying that I don’t see a marlin stabbing through a pipe like that unless it was at speed. Do marlin often charge and impale inanimate objects? Is one more likely to be doing that than chasing prey and accidentally colliding with the pjpe?

    And yeah, I have a hard time believing a swordy can punch through a few inch thick steel.

    http://www.onr.navy.mil/focus/ocean/vessels/submersibles2.htm

    *actually, PLEASE make me fly down there to New Zealand… seriously, someone make me… buy me a ticket…

  37. 37
    Ragutis

    Where’s a nazi with a chair when you need one…

  38. 38
    Ragutis

    Correction: Do marlin often charge and impale inanimate objects without provocation?

  39. 39
    Usernames are smart

    PZ loves destruction of other peoples [sic] property. Not surprising, since he is such a hypocrite.
    — geraldo (#33)

    Unsuccessful Troll is unsuccessful. And confused.

    TrollScore™: 0/10
    Better luck next time.

  40. 40
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Ragutis and Ichthyic

    Is it possible the marlin mistook the pipeline for something else, and either mistook it for prey or was threatened by it (presumably the latter given the size and colouration of the thing), and attacked it on purpose?

  41. 41
    nich

    Not surprising, since he is such a hypocrite.

    Gosh, I know! One time he called his wife…THE TROPHY WIFE!!! ZOMG!!

  42. 42
    Bronze Dog

    Yeah, I’m also curious what the circumstances were and what the marlin’s fate was. The latter isn’t looking terribly good, judging from the info presented.

    Thanks go to those who know more about the fish for the info on their previous exploits in puncturing human constructions as well as their mass and speed so I can appreciate the potential force involved in that spear point. It’s also nice to know the term for ram ventilation, how common it is, and why it evolved.

    Regarding softer materials breaking through harder ones, I’m reminded of a facepalm moment when a 9/11 twoofer expressed incredulity that an aluminum plane would make a dent in a building with a steel support structure. Real life isn’t a simple game where X always beats Y. What seems to matter most in cases like these is if there’s enough energy to cause deformation. The various ways we measure the strengths of a material generally just mean they require more energy input.

    Regarding moose: Since I don’t want to feel arrogant for underestimating the animal kingdom or remain in ignorance, has there been a case of moose damaging a land pipeline?

  43. 43
    Anri

    “Oh, you haven’t met Stab’im… he one of our fishies…”

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