Fifty years ago, the supertanker SS Torrey Canyon hit rocks off the coast of Cornwall, spilling more than 100,000 tonnes of crude oil into the English Channel. Beaches were left knee-deep in sludge and thousands of sea birds were killed in what remains the UK's worst environmental accident.
It was the first major oil spill in British and European waters, causing enormous damage to marine life and the livelihoods of local people. It also led to changes in the way people viewed the environment.
Brittany, in northern France, bore the brunt of the thickest part of the slick, and it became known there as the marée noire, or "black tide".
More than 15,000 sea birds were killed. Clogged up with thick viscous oil, they were washed up both dead and alive on the shores. Future populations of some species took decades to recover.
Read more; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-39223308