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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Elias KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 4
source ETC
type D
volume 22000B
material crude/asphalt
dead
link


source HOOKE
type A
volume
material
dead 12
link

On April 9, 1974, while the Greek motor tanker was discharging her cargo of Venezuelan heavy asphalt oil on the Delaware River at Fort Mifflin Marine Terminal, Philadelphia, a violent explosion occurred followed by a fire. Heavily damaged, the Elias settled on the river bottom, her entire centre section having been blown away. The master Captain Andreas Antoniadis was amongst the 12 crew members who died, while another 13 were injured. The shore installation also sustained extensive damage due to the effects of the blast. The wreckage of the vessel was eventually removed for scrap.


source NTSB
type D
volume
material
dead 13
link

Here is the synposis from the NTSB report, NTSB-MAR-78-4.

About 2150 EDT on April 9, 1974, the tanker M/T Elias (Greek) which discharging crude oil at the Atlantic Richfield Company Fort Mifflin Terminal on the Delaware River at Philadelphia, PA exploded, burned and sank. The Elias was destroyed; five crewmembers and three visitors were killed; four crewmembers and one visitor are missing and presumed dead. The tanker S/S Steiniger (Liberian) at the next berth was slightly damaged and surrounding waters were polluted with oil. Damage to the ARCO termianl was estimated to be $2 million.

The NTSB determines that the probable cause of the accident was the inadequate maintenance of cargo tanks and the sanitary system which allowed volatile cargo vapors to enter compartments containing ignition sources. The location of accommodations over cargo tanks contributed to the loss of life.


source CTX
type D
volume 31000T
material C
dead 13
link

According to the USCG report, initial explosion appeared to be in way of 2C or 3S, followed 10 to 20 seconds by another massive explosion. A third explosion occurred 10 to 15 minutes later. USCG says 13 dead, 14 injured. This was a two island ship. All the survivors were aft. The cargo was Bachaquero crude which requires heating to 125F. Steam was being run to the tanks. The ship was not fitted with a inert gas system. The subsequent inspection revealed lots of corrosion including a hole in a waste drain line that could have allowed cargo vapors to get into the forward house. There were reports of people smoking oa the midship house deck shortly before the explosion. Most tellingly, the ship had had a fire in 3S two days earlier while still at sea. The crew had managed to put it out. A very cursory inspection by the USCG and local fire people OKed the ship to discharge. Coast Guard concluded that there were any number of ways that the explosions could have occurred, but they were unable to identify even a most likely path.