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.
On 15th November 1979, Romanian tanker INDEPENDENTA collided with the Greek cargo ship EVRIALI, off Haydarpasa at the entrance to the Bosphorus, in Turkey. A part of the cargo of 93,800 tonnes of Libyan Es Sider crude oil spilled and caught fire.
On 19th of July 1979, two fully loaded VLCCs (very large crude carriers), the ATLANTIC EMPRESS and AEGEAN CAPTAIN, were involved in a collision approximately 10 miles off Tobago during a tropical rainstorm. Both vessels began leaking oil immediately after the collision and both caught fire.
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 23rd February 1977, HAWAIIAN PATRIOT, fully loaded with 99,000 tonnes of light Indonesian crude oil, en route from Indonesia to Honolulu, reported a crack in its hull plating during a storm. This resulted in a leak of oil from the cargo holds approximately 300 miles west of Hawaii.
ARGO MERCHANT ran aground on Nantucket Shoals, off Massachusetts, USA, on 15th December 1976, and over the next month spilled her entire cargo (28,000 tonnes) of Venezuelan No 6 fuel oil and cutter stock.
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.
METULA grounded in the eastern Strait of Magellan, on 9th August 1974. Around 47,000 tonnes of light Arabian crude oil and 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil are estimated to be have been lost.
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.