The collision between the Liberian motor tanker Tien Chee
and the British steamship Royston Grange on May 11, 1972,
resulted in the loss of 82 lives,
making it the worst maritime disaster of that year.
The Tien Chee was en route from Bahia Blanca to La Plata,
loaded with 20,000 tons of crude oil,
when she collided with the Royston Grange
in dense fog at 5 am on may 11 in the Indio Channel,
River Plate, about 35 miles SW of Montevideo.
Fire swept thru the Royston Grange,
which was loaded with frozen and chilled meat and butter
and was also carrying 10 passengers.
She had only sailed from Buenos Aires some hours earlier
en route to London via Montevideo.
All 63 crew members, 10 passengers, and the Argentive river pilot
on board the British vessel died because of the fire.
while another eight men were killed on the Tien Chee.
32 crewmen managed to abandon the blazing tanker,
which lay alongside the furiously burning Royston Grange,
spilling some of her thick black cargo into the River Plate.
They were subsequently rescued from two lifeboats.
The collision blocked all sea traffic to and from Buenos Aires
until the Tien Chee then drifted aground on a sandbar
on the edge of the shipping channel
before being towed to La Plata Roads.
Such was the severity of the damage sustained
that she was declared a constructive total loss and,
after waiting many years at the Naval base at Santiago
for the outcome of legal proceedings,
the wreck was eventually sold at auction
to a company of Buenos Aires shipbreakers,
and then demolished in 1976.