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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Maria Alejandra KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 5
source LMIU
type C
volume
material
dead 34
link

Explosion, sank Mar 11 1980 in 20 32 N 18 13 W. Seven dead, 29 missing


source HOOKE
type C
volume
material
dead 34
link

There were only seven survivors from a total of 43 persons on board when the 239,010 dwt Spanish motor tanker Maria Alejandra sank off the coast of Mauritania in lat 20.32N, long 18.13W at about 1.30 GMT on March 11, 1980, only 40 seconds after being ripped apart by massive explosions. She was on a ballast passage from Algeciras to the Persion Gulf carrying 36 normal crew members, all Spanish, two relatives to the crew, three student engineers, plus a British consultant to the tanker's owners and his secretary. The alarm was not raised until over eight hours later when the seven survivors were picked by a passing vessel.

One of the survivors a fireman Jos Sendon was flown to a hospital in Las Palmas where he later said he had been in his cabin when he heard several explosions. Water then flooded in when he forced the door open. He only survived because his cabin was on an upper deck. Leaping overboard he swam away from a blazing oil slick and clung to a floating table for eight hours until being rescued.


source HODGSON-1986
type A
volume
material
dead 36
link

Perhaps the most shocking disaster of all came in March, 1980. The Spanish maria Alejandra (235,000 dwt) exploded and sank in under one minute off the coast of Mauritania. Neither poor management nor indifferent owners could be blamed for the loss. She was less than three years old and insured for more than $40 million. Thirty-six people whent down with her: they included the owner, an enthusiast for ship safety, and his wide and daughter, whom he had taken along for the cruise.


source ETC
type D
volume 29320B
material
dead
link


source CTX
type D
volume 29320B
material
dead 36
link

The spill volume is probably unfounded. Using ETC's 7.33 B/T (incorrect) conversion factor for bunker fuel, 29320B is 4000T, which probably is their "standard" figure for unknown amount of bunkers on board a VLCC.

1330 GMT would be 1330 or 1230 ship time, so in the working day. Probably a tank cleaning explosion, but why the large loss of life? Hodgson, whose claim that the owner and his family were killed, is not supported by other sources, indicates that this was one of the casualties that persuaded Lloyds to charge a 0.1% premium for non-inerted VLCC's. This indicates (a) she was not inerted despite having been delivered 7 years after the Mactra et al; and (b) the owner was not so safety conscious.

How could a VLCC in ballast sink in 40 seconds? Strange that a VLCC in ballast would produce a blazing oil slick. A lot more questions then answers. We need to check this out. Did the Spanish do a report?

Believe this ship was a sister or near sister of the Amoco Cadiz, Haven (Amoco Milford Haven) and Mycene.