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 16th December 2011, the general cargo ship TK BREMEN dragged anchor whilst in ballast under stormy conditions and sought shelter outside the port of Lorient. The vessel subsequently ran aground on the beach of Kerminihy, Erdeven, France resulting in a spillage of an estimated 70 tonnes of Intermediate Fuel Oil (IFO) 180.
On 31st January 2006, the Marshall Islands-registered chemical tanker, ECE was on a laden voyage from Safi, Morocco to Ghent, Belgium with a cargo of 10,361 tonnes of Phosphoric Acid when she collided with the bulk carrier GENERAL GROT-ROWECKI off Alderney, Channel Islands, UK.
On 13th November 2002, the tanker PRESTIGE (81,564 DWT), carrying a cargo of 77,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, suffered hull damage in heavy seas off northern Spain. She broke in two on 19 November and 63,000 tonnes of oil were estimated lost from the PRESTIGE.
The Maltese tanker ERIKA, carrying some 31,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil as cargo, broke in two in a severe storm in the Bay of Biscay on 12th December 1999, 60 miles from the coast of Brittany. All members of the crew were rescued by the French maritime rescue services. Some 19,800 tonnes of oil were spilled. The bow sank on 12th December and the stern on the following day.
On the 7th of March 1980, the tanker TANIO was carrying 26,000 tonnes of No.6 fuel oil, before breaking in two during violent weather conditions off the coast of Brittany, France. As a result approximately 13,500 tonnes of cargo oil was spilled.
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.