On the morning of March 3, 1968,
the tanker Ocean Eagle grounded in the harbor of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The vessel broke in two several hours after the grounding,
spilling Venezuelan light crude oil into the harbor.
The aft section of the vessel drifted farther into the harbor and grounded,
while the forward section was anchored in place.
Three days later, U. S. Navy tugs tried to tow the forward section out of the harbor.
Adverse weather hindered the operation,
and eventually drove the forward section farther into the harbor.
On March 10, the forward section broke open in heavy seas and released more oil into the water.
By the first week of April, both parts of the tanker were lightered
and towed out to sea where they were sunk.
Over 70,000 barrels of oil spilled into the San Juan Harbor.
A slick one inch thick covered most of the harbor.
Approximately 16 miles of Condado beaches were oiled.
Representatives from the USCG, the United States Navy (USN),
the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration,
and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (COE) arrived on-scene to assist in the response.
Spill response included the use of sorbents, dispersants,
and mechanical and manual removal of the oil from beaches.
The U. S. Navy began spraying the emulsifier Wyandot 20 on the slick on the afternoon of March 3.
Emulsifiers were spread in Condado Lagoon on April 8.
While the emulsifiers used were effective, it was not clear
that they did not complicate the effects of the oil on the environment.
Ekoperl, an absorbent, was spread on the slick.
Murphy Pacific Marine Salvage Company, under contract to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers,
was responsible for the offloading and removal of the stern section,
while the U.S. Navy was responsible for the bow.
On April 3, the Navy finished lightering operations
after recovering approximately 24,000 barrels of oil,
and towed the bow off its grounding location.
The bow was sunk eight miles from San Juan on the next day, but continued to leak some oil.
On April 15, the stern section was towed off its grounding location,
and was also sunk eight miles out to sea.