The 10 biggest oil spills - 5 Atlantic Empress

Oil & Gas IQ

Since the dawn of modern oil exploitation in the 19th century, a sad but inevitable truth has rung true: accidents happen and oil spills. The ten biggest oil disasters in the oil and gas industry and gas industry in this list amount to a cumulative hydrocarbons loss of 40.8 million barrels and cost 53 lives:

5. Atlantic Empress / Aegean Oil Spill

When: July 19th, 1979
Where: Off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago
Casualties: 26 dead
Amount spilled: 2.14 million barrels (90 million gallons)

Two VLCCs, the Atlantic Empress and the Aegean Captain collided during a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea. The two vessels burst into flame on impact, claiming the lives of 26 seamen. The fire aboard the Aegean Captain was tamed by her crew, but the blaze on the Atlantic Empress raged uncontrolled.

She was towed away from the original collision site, still haemorrhaging crude oil until a series of explosions downed the vessel on August 3rd. Although massive in scale, the Atlantic Empress / Aegean Oil spill was only the second largest such incident of that calendar year.


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