Back to Casualty List | Search The Casualty Database
Precis File
source GATES-1989
type D
volume 100B,200B
material crude

Vic Bilh was discharging at American Petrofina in Port Arthur. Afran Stream, in ballast outbound with a draft of 11.9 m, fore and aft. Afran Stream pilot said he was trying to go as slow as possible but claimed he lost steerageway and had to speed up. Gates think the lost steerageway was due to bank effects and a very irregularly dredged channel. Best guess his speed was around 6 knots.

The suction effect of the Stream overloaded the Vic Bilh's mooring lines. 7 of the 16 lines mostly at the bow parted. Both chicksans failed and, according to Gates 100 to 200 barrels of oil spilled. Valves were closed, but spill caught on fire. Fire was put out on two hours.

source CTX
type D
volume 30000L
material C
dead 0

Lots of problems here, including ships too big for waterway. The Afran Stream was 130,000 dwt. One source says the Vic Bilh was a 100,000 dwt, but we need confirmation.

But perhaps the prime cause is the poor low speed maneuverability of single screw tankers. For these ships, minimum steerage way is about 6 knots even in open water. And if you stop the prop to take speed off, mimimum steerage way is more than 6 knots.