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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Bonifaz KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 2
source HOOKE
type A
volume Y
material
dead 25
link

25 deaths resulted from the collision between the Spanish motor tanker Bonifaz and the French motor tanker Fabiola off Cape Finisterre, NW Spain, on July 3 1964. The Bonifaz has left Corunna in ballast at 4:30 PM on July 3 bound for Cartagena, on the Mediterranean cost of Spain. Some five hours later she was struck aft on her port side by the Fabiola in very dense fog. This was immediately followed by an explosion and fire on the Bonifaz, which then sank in half an hour about 9 miles off Cape Finisterre.


source CTX
type C
volume Y
material
dead 25
link

CAHILL_C has a complete description, page 6, which makes fascinating reading. This was a classic dance of death. Fabiola expected stbd to stbd, Bonifaz expected port to port. At last minute Fabiola first went hard port then when he realized this was not going to work, went hard starboard. Near 90 degree angle of impact. Bonifaz, altered 10 degrees to port about 8 minutes before impact, and then did not do much at all. All the deaths were on the Bonifaz.

Fabiola (IMO 5111517, FR) was twin screw, but, since she was at 15 knots, would not have made much difference.

No communication nor attempt at communication.

We have no penetration data. Cahill indicates that the spill from the Fabiola ignited, and then the gas in the Bonifaz's tanks exploded. This implies that at least the forward cargo tank(s) of the Fabiola were breached, which combined with a near-90 degree angle of impact implies a depth of impact of at least the length of the Fabiola's FP tank. Anyway with a 20,000 dwt tanker being T-boned by a loaded 56,000 dwt at 15 knots, we can be confident double sides would have made little differences. But inerting might have made a big difference in the death toll.