How They Made It Worse:
Deadly chemicals and napalm.
By nightfall, it was crystal clear that the Torrey Canyon was going down, which was probably why all 31 million gallons of oil on board got sentient and decided to abandon ship. Within 12 hours of the spill, the British navy decided the best option was to unleash an assault of "detergents" on the six-mile slick, since detergents had worked all right on cleaning up minor coastal spills in the past. And what do you know, British Petroleum manufactured those exact detergents! Talk about lucky!
Oh, BP. You guys have the solution to everything!
Except these "detergents" weren't detergents at all -- they were cleaning solvents meant to be used on engine rooms, not oceans. One reporter said that using the detergents to mop up oil was "like trying to pick up quicksilver with boxing gloves." The chemicals not only made it harder to capture the oil but also made it easier for marine animals to capture it. In their mouths. So now birds and fish weren't ingesting just oil -- they were ingesting oil and toxic chemicals.