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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Katelysia,Otello KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 5
source McLeod et al, Measures to Combat Arctic and Sub-arctic oil spills, Journal of Petroleum Technology, March, 1974
type A
volume
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Date of Spill: March 20, 1970
Location: Tralhavet Bay, Sweden
Cause and Extent of Spill: The tanker Othello [sic] collided with another tanker, the Katelysia, spilling 60,000 to 100,000 tons of Bunker C fuel oil. The oil formed large blobs 0.45 to 0.6 in in diameter which sank except for a few centimeters showing at the surface.
Environmental Conditions: Low temperature; harbor ice was in the process of breaking up.
Cleanup Procedures: Because pof the coldness of the waters and the formation of icepacks, the diepersants, absorbents, and containment booms were impractical. Wicking agent Cab-O-Sil ST-2-0 was used successfully to burn oil.

[This is one of the multitude of studies that accepted the impossible 60,000 to 100,000 ton spill volume. Strangely, in the same paper (Table 1), this spill shows up as 250 tons with a cleanup cost of USD 440,000.]


source ETC
type A
volume 18.0MMG
material
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The records of the 20 March 1970 Othello spill have been the subject of controversy. ITOPF claims that the spill size could be no larger than 25,000 gallons, and that the vessel recorded as the tanker Othello is probably the freighter Otello (DWT 4,376) listed in the 1970-1971 Lloyds List. A vessel of this size would have a maximum oil carrying capacity of 1.35 million gallons. A number of other sources, however, report the spill size to be as large as 30.7 million gallons. Several reports indicate that the oil formed huge blobs that sank below the water, leaving only about 10 cm of the oil exposed on the surface. The bay was covered with 60 cm deep ice in the shipping channel. Since a large part of the oil disappeared below the ice and the surface of the water, it is difficult to estimate the total volume. [The proprietary OSIR (Oil Spill Intelligence Report) data base is the source of the 18 million gallon figure. The comment about the ice making it difficult to estimate volume is nonsense. One estimates the volume of a spill from the quantity onboard before the spill and the quantity still onboard after the spill.]


source LINK
type D
volume 200T,300T
material Heavy fuel oil
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link http://www.kustbevakningen.se/ra/ratjanst/pdf/statistikpdf/signific69.pdf

This is a Swedish Coast Guard List of Significant oil spills affecting Swedish water since 1969. It is quite detailed containing spills down to few tons. It shows a March, 1970 spill by the MT Otello at Vaxholm, 200 to 300T heavy fuel oil.


source LINK
type A
volume
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link http://www.ielaw.com/trans26sweden.pdf

Turbine tanker Katelysia (K) came from Stockholm going NW in a shipping lane of limited breadth. Having just passed the 5 kt speed limited strait of Oxdjupet, she was under acceleration. From the east, in an adjoining channel, came Otello (O), a modern motor tanker with reversible propeller, planning to turn a sharp angle to port where the channels join. A row of islets south of the entrance to the adjoining channel obstructed the view between the vessels, but they could sight one another temporarily. When K sighted O, she called on the VHF radio, asking O to 'take it easy because I have problems stopping', to which O answered 'Yes, just come on.' K continued accelerating, while O feeling she was the stand-on vessel being on the starboard side of the other, also continued, out of the adjoining channel intending to pass ahead of K, and then veer port down the main channel for a port to port meeting. However, K was further ahead than O had expected, and the two vessels collided, resulting in heavy oil spills. K contended inter alia that the place was a narrow channel where each vessel should have followed its lane, which would have involved a starboard to starboard meeting, and that the vessels had agreed on such a meeting or that O should wait.

Svea Appeal Court held that such a meeting at the junction of two narrow channels must be determined according to the ordinary crossing courses rule, without any assumptions as where the other vessel might be heading. As K had O on her starboard side, she should have regarded herself as the give-way vessel, and since some islets prevented her from continuous observations, she should have assumed she was in for a collision situation. Though it was possible to derogate from the rules by VHF, the conversation between the parties was not a clear such derogation. However, as O had been warned of the meeting and had made a risky meeting directly ahead of the large tanker, it was held equally at fault, and damages were therefore divided 50-50.


source CTX
type C
volume 300T
material F
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link

Any number of sources uncritically repeat the OSIR volume (about 60,000 tons), and as a result this spill shows up in almost all the biggest spill lists. This includes MIT79 which lists this as the Othello-Katelysia collision. Interestingly many environmental sites extract the 30.7 MM gallon (about 100,000 tons) figure from the above ETC quote while failing to mention the first three sentences in the quote nor the fact that there was no tanker named Othello at the time, certainly none that was anywhere near 60,000 tons deadweight.

There was a small Wallenius tanker called Otello at the time in the Baltic Sea trade. The only Otello in Miramar that qualifies is a 1969 built Swedish tanker, dwt=4225, grt=2671. LR number 7004330. The Katelysia did exist; she was an 18,170 dwt Shell tanker, built 1954.

The best source we have is the Swedish Transport Law commentary, which makes it clear that the collision was between the 18,000 ton Shell tanker and a smaller, newer tanker called Otello. The collision occured well within the Stockholm archipelago an area into which ships larger than the Katelysia would not nor could not go. Clearly, the OSIR volume is nonsense. A 60,000 ton spill -- twice the size of the Valdez -- in a Swedish bay right next to Stockholm would go not unnoticed by the Swedish Coast Guard, not to mention bringing Viking wrath down on the whole tanker world.

The Shell K-class were well sub-divided, with a 3x11 tank arrangement. There is a photo of a damaged tanker in dock in Rotterdam which we think is the Katelysia. The damage in the photo is on the starboard bow, and involves at most the forwardmost starboard cargo tank. The indent indicates that the damage on the other ship probably involved only the other ship's FP tank. The damage is consistent with both the Swedish Law collision scenario and the Swedish Coast Guard's estimate of the spill volume.

CTX's guess is that a typo in the original Golub Oil Spill Intelligence Report turned a 300T spill into a top 20 spill, inflating its volume by a factor of 200 to 300.

Fingas in a 1998 paper on in-situ burning has a table on historical burns of spills. An entry described as Othello/Katelysia says oil burned among ice and in pools But Fingas gives no volume.