Accession Number:

ADA071046

Title:

Fate of Oil Spilled from the Supertanker METULA.

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.,

Corporate Author:

TEXAS A AND M RESEARCH FOUNDATION COLLEGE STATION

Report Date:

1979-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

166.0

Abstract:

On 9 August 1974, the METULA, a 206,000 deadweight VLCC Very Large Crude Carrier enroute from Ras Tenura, Saudi Arabia to Quintera Bay, Chile, with a load of 195,673 tons of Arabia light crude, ran aground on the Satellite Patch Shoal in the Straits of Magellan, Chile. The oil spill was destined to become the worlds second largest as of that time, exceeded only by the famous TORREY CANYON disaster. In terms of oil deposited on the shore, the METULA spill may be the worlds largest, since the geography of the area, the prevailing winds, and the nearness of the grounded ship to shore caused most of the oil to reach the Chilean shoreline primarily on the shore of the famous Island of Tierra del Fuego, which forms the southern shore of the eastern half of the Straits. The greatest significance of this spill results from the fact that no cleanup operation was attempted and thus the spill became by default, the worlds largest scientific oil spill. This report describes the oceanographic and meteorological setting of the grounding and subsequent spill and discusses the grounding, the resulting spill and the deposition of the oil on shore. An in-depth discussion of fifteen selected sites is presented including environmental features, the deposited oil and its appearance and behavior at different times and the visual impact of the spill. The final section of this report addresses the lessons learned at the time of the spill and subsequently and discusses the development of pilot international training efforts to help countries plan to deal with such spills. Author

Subject Categories:

  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE