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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Albahaa B KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 4
source LMIU
type C
volume
material
dead 6
link

Explosion, broke in tow, sank Apr 03 1980 in approx 07 00 S 45 00 E. Six dead


source HOOKE
type A
volume
material
dead 6
link

Thursday, April 3, 1980, saw the loss of two huge tankers in very similar circumstances on opposites sides of the African continent. The 239,410 dwt Liberian steam tanker Albahaa B. was proceeding in ballast from Durban to Quoin Island for orders, when she sank at 8:10 am about 200 miles off Dar-es-Salaam in lat 07.00S, long 45.00E, after being ripped apart by massive explosions in her empty holds. Six of the 44 persons on board died as a result. One of the 38 survivors, who were picked up from lifeboats by the steam tanker Olympic Action, reported that the explosions occurred while the empty tanks of the Albahaa B. were being cleaned. The crew was aroused by two blasts just before dawn. Then they scrambled for the deck as flames began to roar through the tanker. A lifeboat was lowered but some crew members jumped overboard. Another rescued crewman stated "someone sent as SOS before leaving the ship and about a half hour later what was left of the vessel sank completely."


source ETC
type D
volume 29320B
material
dead
link


source CTX
type D
volume 29320B
material
dead 6
link

There are rumours that this ship was involved in smuggling oil to South Africa. One popular press source says "blew up alledgedly as a result of incompentent tank cleaning". This is plausible, and consistent with the Hooke account. The ships in this trade tended not to have the best owners.

The ship was tank cleaning and the first explosion occured before dawn, so it is extremely unlikely that anyone would be in the tanks. If the tanks they were machine washing had been properly inerted, there is nil chance they would have ignited. It is possible this 1971 built VLCC was not fitted with Inert Gas. IMO did not make this a requirement until 1984. More likely, they just screwed it up. But we just dont know.

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