The master, his wife, their two year old son, and 27 crewmen were drowned
after the 218,665 dwt Greek steam tanker Andros Patria
was abandoned by most of her crew in the Atlantic Ocean
off the northwestern coast of Spain on New Year's Eve, 1978.
The Andros Patria was on a voyage from Iran's Persian Gulf terminal of Kharg Island
to Europoort near Rotterdam loaded with 208,000 tonnes of crude oil,
when she developed a 50 ft crack in her hull in very heavy seas and near gale force winds
off Cape Finisterre in lat 43.31N, long 09.37W at about 1820 hours GMT
on December 31, 1978.
Then, some two hours later, following an explosion, a fire broke out
in the crack in No 3 tank on the port side,
through which oil was pouring out into the sea.
After requesting immediate helicopter assistance,
30 persons abandoned ship, taking to a lifeboat,
leaving just three men remaining on board.
However, the lifeboat capsized throwing its occupants into the sea.
None could be saved by the many ships
that had arrived on the scene to offer assistance.
The three who remained on board were airlifted to safety
by a helicopter the following day when it was estimated that
50,000 tonnes of oil had been lost.
The rough seas and dumping of large quantities of detergent
by local vessels prevented the huge slick from reaching
the beaches of Spain.
The drifting tanker was then taken in tow,
with neither the Spanish nor Portugese governments
wanting the vessel in their waters for fear of pollution.
The French and British also advised the salvors
that they were refused permission to enter their territorial waters
with the stricken ship.
Towed to a position 250 miles south of Azores, lightered.
Got to Lisbon but was decleared CTL and scrapped.