The frequency of tanker spills has fallen steeply over the past 49 years, according to an international agency that tracks liquid hydrocarbon releases into the marine environment.

The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), based in London, reports that globally in this decade there have been an average of 1.9 large spills per year from tankers compared to 24.5 per year in the 1970s.

Industry-wide, the downward trend is continuing despite a doubling in the volume of crude oil, petroleum and gas transported by tanker between 1970 and 2018. “The number of oil spills involving tankers remains low despite a general increase in oil trading over the years and tanker owners and governments continue to work together to improve safety and standards of operations in seaborne oil transportation,” the ITOPF said in a news release.

“The average number of spills of seven tonnes or more is now about six per year, from a high of 79 in the 1970s. The yearly average for large spills, i.e., greater than 700 tonnes, has also reduced from around 25 in the 1970s to less than two since 2010.”