The 36 year old American turbo-electric tanker Aries
was en route from Houston to Norfolk, Virginia,
loaded with 23,282 tons of light No 6 fuel oil
and 700 tons of bunker C oil,
when a fire broke out in her engine room
while in the Gulf of Mexico about 60 miles west of Dry Tortugas
in lat 24.40N, long 84.00W on February 6, 1980.
With the fire spreading, most of her crew abandoned ship
in lifeboats, leaving 11 on board who had volunteered
to fight the fire.
When they had successfully brought the blaze under control,
two of them had to be airlifted to hospital in Key West
by helicopter, one with a broken arm,
the other suffering from smoke inhalation.