On Wednesday, February 4, 1970,
amidst heavy rain and winds from the southeast reportedly gusting up to 60 knots,
the Liberian tanker ARROW ran aground on Cerberus Rock in Chedabucto Bay, Nova Scotia.
She was under charter to Imperial Oil Limited
and had been en route to Nova Scotia Pulp Limited
with a cargo of 108,000 barrels of Bunker C fuel.
On grounding, the forward half of the ARROW suffered extensive damage,
and oil began to flow from the ruptured tanks.
Over the next 14 hours, much of this oil was transported
to the shores north of Cerberus Rock by the prevailing winds and currents.
As the storm moderated and the wind shifted, oil slicks, some miles in extent,
were driven toward the south coast of the Bay.
Some of the oil may have escaped from the Bay.
On February 8, the ARROW broke in half at her No. 5 tank,
the contents of which were thus spilled into the sea.
Two days later the wind shifted from the northwest to the southeast
and this oil in turn was driven toward the north shores of Chedabucto Bay.
On February 12, the stern section sank in 90 feet of water
carrying with it a good third of the cargo.
The tanks containing this oil remained essentially intact,
and very little oil was to escape from the stern section
after it had settled to the sea bed.
Gale force winds from the east and later from the southwest
moved more oil into the Inhabitants Bay, Janvrin Island, and Isle Madame areas.
In the days following, oil moved toward the open sea.
By the eighth day, February 12, an estimated one half of the ship's cargo of oil
had been released and the calamity had reached catastrophic proportions.
Out of the 375 statute miles of shoreline in the Bay area,
190 miles had been contaminated in varying degrees.