Back to Casualty List | Search The Casualty Database
Precis File
SHIP NAME: Esso Bernicia KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 5
source ETC
type D
volume 6597B
material Bunker C/Fuel Oil
dead
link


source CEDRE
type D
volume 1100T
material Bunker C
dead
link

Says "collided with mooring jetty" but no cause info.


source Esso Petroleum vs Hall Russell Co
type A
volume
material
dead
link

Only the relevancy of the pleadings was at issue before the House, but the following facts were admitted by the parties.

The Esso Bernicia, a tanker owned by Esso, was damaged while mooring in Sullom Voe I in the Shetland Islands. The accident occurred when a tug (The Stanechakker), which had a towing line secured to the stern of The Esso Bernicia, leaked hydraulic oil which caught fire, and the towing line had to be cast off. The Esso Bernicia, no longer under the full control of the other two tugs, came into contact with a number of dolphins, and as a result of damage sustained, there was a considerable spillage of oil. The accident was caused (it was alleged) by the negligence of the defendants (who had designed and built the tug). However, there was a pilot aboard The Esso Bernicia, and Hall Russell claimed that the employers of the pilot should be liable.

Esso made payments to B.P. (operators of the terminal), and crofters whose sheep were affected by the pollution, under the TOVALOP scheme (Tanker Owners Voluntary Agreement concerning Liability for Oil Pollution). They sued Hall Russell, claiming reimbursement of these payments, and also the value of bunker oil lost and the cost of repairs to the tanker. A claim was also made against the Shetland Islands Council, claiming that they were vicariously liable for the default of their pilot.

The House was concerned only to consider the relevancy of pleadings made, the facts not having been proved.

Neither defendant was liable for the loss incurred under TOVALOP. Hall Russell were liable in negligence (if proved) only for the physical loss of bunker oil, and the cost of repairs to the tanker.


source Shetland Islands Council, Report of the Esso Bernicia Incident, June 1981
type A
volume 1174T
material Bunker C
dead
link

On the 30th December, 1978, the SS Esso Bernicia while berthing at No 2 tanker jetty at the port of Sullom Voe, collided with three dolphins. As a result of the collision the starboard wing bunker tank was ruptured allowing some 1,174 tons of heavy fuel oil to escape into the waters of the harbour. Considerable damage was caused to the jetty structure and to the vessel itself.

At 23.32 hours on the 30th Decmber, 1978, as the Esso Bernicia was being manoeuvred into position alongside Jetty No 2, a fire broke out aboard the Stanechakker, one of three tugs employed in berthing the tanker. The tug is owned by the Shetland Towing Company. Because of the hazard to the tanker which the fire presented, the tow rope between the Esso Bernicia and the tug was released. Shortly thereafter the tanker sheared and collided with the jetty structure.


source CTX
type D
volume 1100T
material B
dead
link

Thanks to the Court case, we have real cause info for this casualty. There is always a story behind every spill, and it almost never shows up in the conventional spill data bases. CTX's goal is to get the story for every sizable spill.

The Shetland Islands report confirms that the ship was under pilotage. it also says that attempts to contain the spill were unsuccessful due to severe weather conditions.