This section contains summaries of major spills from 1967 to the present day, looking at the incident, response, our involvement together with selected bibliographies and web links, where available.
The tanker AMOCO CADIZ ran aground off the coast of Brittany on 16th March 1978 following a steering gear failure. Over a period of two weeks the entire cargo of 223,000 tonnes of light Iranian and Arabian crude oil and 4,000 tonnes of bunker fuel was released into heavy seas. Much of the oil quickly formed a viscous water-in-oil emulsion, increasing the volume of pollutant by up to five times. By the end of April oil and emulsion had contaminated 320km of the Brittany coastline, and had extended as far east as the Channel Islands.
On 29th January 1975 the Danish tanker JAKOB MAERSK struck bottom while manoeuvring onto the berth with the aid of tugs at the port of Leixoes, northern Portugal. It was carrying ~88,000 tonnes of oil, comprising Iranian light crude oil cargo and bunker fuel oil when the incident occurred.
TORREY CANYON ran aground on Pollard Rock on the Seven Stones Reef, near Lands End, Cornwall on 18th March 1967. Thousands of tonnes of oil were soon spilling from the stricken vessel's ruptured tanks and during the next 12 days the entire cargo of approximately 119,000 tonnes of Kuwait crude oil was lost.