On August 9, 1974, the VLCC Metula, laden with 194,000 tons of crude oil,
sailing from the Arabian Gulf to Chile, ran aground at full speed
at the end of the first narrows in the Strait of Magellan.
After initially leaking about 6000 tons of her cargo,
additional damage was caused by stormy weather and strong currents.
A long difficult salvage operation ensued
during which the the oil spill ultimately exceeded 50,000 tons
and substantially damaged beaches, birds and marine life in the Strait.
This quote appears to be based on
USCG, Report of the Metula Grounding,
Polluting and Refloating in the Strait of Magellan in 1974 and
Harm, Roy W, VLCC Metula Oil Spill, Final Report to the Coast Guard,
but CTX has not yet reviewed either of these documents.
MIT79 puts this spill at 57,000LT.
Itopf says 50,000 tons.
The OSCH account is confused on at least two issues:
the type of crude and the direction the ship was traveling.
This ship was a 206,000 tonner, so she was part loaded,
which is usually a sign that they are pushing draft limits pretty hard.
Ake Vissar says ship was scrapped as Tula.
Cahill references a Netherlands Maritime Institute report
called Round the Horn or Through the Magellan Strait.
Hard to say if this is a navigation or guidance error.
GPS would have alerted the ship they were north of track,
but biggest problem seems to be the pilots' early turn
so for now calling it guidance.
Despite the fact that three Shell V's had made this passage prior to Metula,
Straits of Magellan is probably not a good place for a VLCC,
especially a single screw ship, and in fact
Chileans limited Straits to 80,000 tons and 50 ft draft
Of course, no single screw tanker of any size should make this passage.
Naess says she stranded at high tide,
but Cahill makes it clear that, while the Captain intended to make
this part of the passage at high tide,
the pilots were delayed and she went aground near low tide.
Not clear why she spilled so much initially if she did.
We need the vertical depth of penetration.
Most of the oil was spilled after she refloated and then regrounded,
probably on an ebb tide.