On 8th July, 1960, the Esso Portsmouth arrived
at Milford Haven dressed overall,
for she was the first ocean-going tanker to berth
at the marine terminal of the new Esso refinery.
She had 32,000 tons of crude oil to discharge from Kuwait.
Early next morning while the ship was discharging,
a structural failure of an unloading arm on the jetty
caused a spillage of oil.
This quickly ignited and there was a massive explosion.
Fire and rescue services managed to extinguish the flames
but not before the ship's hull structure was heavily buckled
and her midships accommodations completely gutted.
Fortunately the bulk of the cargo was saved and after its discharge
the ship was placed on buoys in the harbour for survey.