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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Wafra KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 4
source SIS83
type D
volume
material
dead 2
link

Stranded 6 miles off Cape Agulhas on 27/2/71 after engine room flooded, refloated 8/3/71, towed 200 mls S of Cape Agulhas and scuttled on 12/3/71. er flooded due to fracture circulating pump sea injection. All six port side tanks breached, Nos 5 and 6 centre tanks breached.


source HOOKE
type D
volume 40000T
material
dead
link

On February 27, 1971, while en route from Ras Tanura to Cape Town loaded with 40,000 tons of crude oil, the Liberian steam tanker Wafra requested assistance when she became immobilized after her engine room flooded off Cape Agulhas in lat 35.00S, 20.02E at 630 am. The Russian steam tanker Gdynia was the first to arrive on the scene to take the Wafra in tow but when she found this too difficult she handed the tow over to the South African motor vessel Pongola some seven miles off Cape Agulhas later the same day. Most of the crew were taken off. However, the tow rope broke and the 49,762 dwt Wafra, with only the master and helmsman on board, drifted aground in a heavy swell at 5:30 pm on a reef about five miles due east of Cape Agulhas. This resulted in heavy leakage of the crude oil cargo.

The West German salvage tug Oceanic arrived on the scene and eventually succeeded in pulling the wreck afloat on March 8 after several unsuccessful attempts duing a four day period. The Wafra with an estiamted 20 percent of her cargo having spilled into the sea was then towed to a position 200 miles off Cape Agulhas where she was attacked by South Africa jets using high explosive missiles on March 10. The blazing wreck, settling slowly in the water, was then depth charged on the following two days. She finally sank on March 12 in lat 38S, long 20E.

The Wafra was launched at Nagasaki on october 5, 1955 with a gross tonnage of 27,400. In August, 1970 she underwent jumboization which increased her overall gross tonnage to 36,697.


source OSIR
type D
volume 68570T
material C
dead
link

Puts location at 40.00S,20.00E, Atlantic Ocean???? Says grounding while under tow


source CTX
type D
volume 40000T
material C
dead ?
link

SIS83 is the only source that claims two people killed. Hooke who is usually good on casualties says all but the captain and helmsman were taken off before the ship went aground, but makes no mention of any deaths. For now calling the number of dead unknown.

Cedre lists this spill at 63,000 tons, OSIR at 68,570, but no other source is over 40,000 tons. According to Hooke, the ship had a deadweight of 49,762 tons. But he also says the GRT went from 27,400 when she was built to 36697 after jumboization. A GRT of 37000 is consistent with a dwt of over 60,000 tons. Getty is unlikely to have part-loaded the ship. So we really don't know who is right.

The failure to sink the ship was a big source of embarrassment for the South African air force.

This is a classic case of a spill which in almost all databases is called a grounding. In fact it is a mechanical failure, resulting in loss of power, and the ship then drifting aground.