Tanio On 7th March, 1980 the Tanio broke up during violent weather conditions off the northern coast of Brittany, France.
As a result, approximately 14,500 tonnes of the heavy fuel oil cargo were spilled.
Strong north-westerly winds moved the oil towards the same Breton coast
which had been impacted by oil from the Amoco Cadiz almost exactly two years earlier,
and from the Torrey Canyon in 1967.
Due to the high viscosity of the oil and severe weather conditions,
neither chemical dispersal nor containment and recovery techniques at sea were possible.
Because of its persistent nature the spilled oil eventually contaminated
about 200 km of coastline to varying degrees, with small amounts again spreading as far as the Channel Islands.
Bulk oil was removed from shorelines using tractor-drawn vacuum trucks,
although this technique could not be used on cold, cloudy days when the oil became too viscous.
The desire to speed up the removal of the bulk oil from priority amenity beaches
in advance of a particularly high tide resulted in the use of bulldozers and front-end loaders.
Whilst much oil (and a considerable amount of beach material) was removed within a short time,
the underlying sediments at a number of sites were heavily contaminated
and required extensive restoration work at a later stage.
The removal of bulk oil was followed by the cleaning of the rocks in the tourist areas,
using hot water washing machines and high pressure cold water jets,
in time for the start of the holiday season in July.
Environmental and economic impacts were limited,
although approximately 1,700 dead birds, primarily guillemots and other auks, were recovered during the incident.
There were some localised fishery impacts, such as contaminated oyster beds and shellfish holding pens,
as well as disruption of seaweed harvesting.
Intertidal fauna and flora was also damaged by smothering
and by the extensive clean-up operations at the severely affected areas.
The lack of international media attention minimised the effect on tourism.