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.