1. Brazil’s worst environmental disaster occurred 5 November 2015, when a tailings dam at a iron ore mine burst, unleashing a flood of mud on the community of Bento Rodrigues in the state of Minas Gerais. The dam breach killed 17 people, left hundreds homeless and polluted the Rio Doce, the region's most main water source. Innumerable fish were killed and the river ecosystem devastated before the sludge spilled into the Atlantic Ocean. The tailings dam was owned and operated by Samarco, a joint venture between Brazil's mining giant Vale and Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton.

  2. On 6 October 2015, the Dutch freighter Flinterstar sank partially after colliding with a LNG tanker in the North Sea, some 6 miles off the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. According to the Belga news agency, an unspecified amount of oil leaked from the ship. During the afternoon, two small oil slicks caused by the accident were present some 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the shore. The Dutch cargo ship Flinterstar was carrying 125 tonnes (138 tons) of diesel and 427 tonnes (470 tons) of fuel oil.

  3. On 12 August 2015, massive chemical explosions occured at the Port of Tianjin, China. Two explosions ripped through Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics Co. Ltd warehouse in Tianjin Port, killing 165 people. Another eight people are still unaccounted for. The explosions damaged 304 buildings, 12,428 cars and 7,533 containers, with verified direct economic losses of 6.87 billion yuan. On 5 February 2016, China released its official report of investigation, which reveals that the disaster, "an extraordinarily serious production safety accident," was caused by ignition of hazardous materials, improperly or illegally stored at the site. Ruihai Logistics had "illegally built a freight yard of hazardous materials, conducted illegal operations, illegally stored hazardous material and had been running inept safety management," the report said.

  4. A pipeline failure has spilled about 5 million litres of bitumen, sand and wastewater from a Nexen Energy pipeline near its Long Lake oil sands facility south of Fort McMurray in northeastern Alberta, Canada. The leak from the pipeline was discovered in the afternoon of 15 July 15, 2015.

  5. On 19 May 2015, a large release of crude oil was reported from a pipeline operated by Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., just north of Refugio State Beach, in Santa Barbara County. Oil was released from the pipeline rupture into a culvert that drains into the Pacific Ocean. While the location of the pipeline release is in the ‘inland zone,’ the impacts to the environment are both inland and costal. On May 20, 2015, Refugio State Beach and El Capitán State Beach were closed and Governor of California Jerry Brown, declared a state of emergency in response to the oil spill.

  6. On 11 April 2015, the trawler Oleg Naydenov caught fire while berthed in Las Palmas, Canary Islands. Spainish Authorities decided to tow the Oleg Naydenov out of the port fearing the trawler could explode damaging other vessels in the port. On 14 April 2015, the Oleg Naydenov sank in 2700 meters of water some 25 kilometres off the coast of Maspalomas, Gran Canaria. The Oleg Naydenov had some 1400 tons of fuel on board at the time of the fire.

  7. On 4 February 2015, Ecuador's government put a state of emergency in place for the Galapagos Islands. Fears there are growing that fuel leaking from a stranded vessel may place the fragile UNESCO World Heritage Site ecosystem at risk. The state of emergency will apply for 180 days and includes the national park, the protected marine reserve and the archipelago, Ecuador's Environment Ministry wrote on its website. The ship, Floreana, carrying more than 1,400 tons of cargo, including food and hazardous materials as well as 38,850 liters (10,000 gallons) of fuel, ran aground off the island of San Cristobal on 28 January 2015.