FATE OF OIL SPILLED FROM THE SUPERTANKER METULA

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 world's 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 world's 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 world's 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 discusses the development of pilot international training efforts to help countries plan to deal with such spills. (Author)

  • Corporate Authors:

    Texas A&M Research Foundation

    College Station, TX  USA  77843

    United States Coast Guard

    2100 Second Street, SW
    Washington, DC  USA  20593
  • Authors:
    • Hann, RWJ
    • Young, HNJ
  • Publication Date: 1979-1

Media Info

  • Pagination: 166 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00198988
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: USCG-WEP-2-79 Final Rpt.
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-CG-62281-A
  • Files: NTIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 7 1980 12:00AM