The grounding and break-up of the ARGO MERCHANT on the Nantucket, Massachusetts shoals in December 1976 demonstrated the inadequacies of existing equipment and procedures for cleaning up oil spilled offshore. Professor Jerome Milgram, of M.I.T.'s Department of Ocean Engineering, believes understanding the ARGO MERCHANT episode may help clarify ways in which preparedness for minimizing the damage of future oil spills can be achieved. The report describes events of the ARGO MERCHANT related to pollution of the seas, including the actual break-up of the vessel, wind and current speeds, and temperatures. A high seas oil clean-up system is suggested, based on current and projected capabilities for collecting large quantities of oil from offshore spills and for protecting land areas from oil so viscous that pumping is impractical. This total spill cleanup system calls for barriers, skimmers, storage vessels, tow vessels, and trained personnel. The report says each of these elements is essential to successful oil cleanup. The report also suggests that improvements in ship salvage technology, and slight increases in required structural strength could lessen the chances of spills from grounded tankers.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Also available from Engineering Societies Library.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Sea Grant Program, 77 Massachusetts Avenue
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02139
  • Authors:
    • Milgram, J H
  • Publication Date: 1977-4

Media Info

  • Pagination: 48 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00157861
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MITSG 77-10
  • Contract Numbers: NOAA-04-6-158-44081
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 4 1977 12:00AM