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On This Day… The Oil Tanker That Broke In Three!

Written by: George Chittenden : 09 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 16th March, back in 1978 when an oil tanker ran aground, broke into three pieces and caused the largest oil spill of its kind in history to that date. The ship was known as Amoco Cadiz and she was carrying 1,604,500 barrels of light crude oil when she ran aground on Portsall Rocks, roughly three miles off the coast of Brittany, France.

Due to severe weather she spilled her entire cargo and four thousand tons of fuel into the sea. The huge spill created a twelve-mile-long oil slick that devastated over two-hundred miles of French coastline.

As you can imagine, the effect on wildlife was devastating. Roughly 20,000 dead birds were found, whilst fishermen in the area caught fish with skin ulcerations and tumours. Millions of dead molluscs, sea urchins, and other bottom dwelling organisms washed ashore.

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