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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Puerto Rican KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 6
source OSIR
type D
volume 2016000G
material No 6 fuel
dead
link

Location is Bodega Bay, San Francisco, California. Says No 6 fuel, lubricating oil. 336,000 gallons of oil sank.


source NOAA
type A
volume 30000B cargo,8500B bfo
material
dead 1
link http://www.cinms.nos.noas.gov

Under Master James C Spillane, Puerto Rican arrived in San Francisco Bay on October 25, 1985 and called at Richmond and Alameda. She loaded a cargo of 91,984 barrels of lubrication oil and additives, took on 8,500 barrels of bunker fuel, and departed for sea shortly after midnight on October 31, bound for New Orleans. At 3:24 AM as she was disembarking the pilot outside San Francisco Bay Entracen Channel, an explosion occured near the No 6 center-independent tank, which blew flames several hundred feet into the air, knocked the pilot and two crew members into the water, and folded back an immense section of the deck measuring nearly 100 feet square. The pilot boat San Francisco rescued pilot James S Nolan and third mate Philip R Lempiere, but able seaman John Peng was lost.

Response by the Coast Guard was immediate, and the burning tanker was towed to sea in order to minimize the chance of a disastrous oil spill on the sensitive areas of San Francisco Bay, the adjacent ocean shoreline, and the Gulf of the Farallones National marine Sanctuary. By the following afternoon, the fires had been extinguished, but on November 3, Puerto Rican, her hull weakened by explosion and fires, broke in two sections, releasing 30,000 barrels of oil into the water. The stern section, containing 8,500 barrels of fuel oil sank at 37 degress 30.6 minutes north latitude and 123 degrees, 007 (sic) minutes west longitude, one mile inside the boundaries of the sanctuary. The remains at a depth of 1,476 feet have been thoroughly surveyed by side scan sonar. Oil still slowly leaks from the vessel.


source Farallones Sanctuary Association
type D
volume 1.47MMG
material
dead
link http://www.farallones.org

On October 31, 1984, the Tanker Vessel Puerto Rican exploded and began the release of at least 1.47 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Farallones NMS over a two week period. The back half of the tank eventually sunk with 365,500 gallons of bunker fuel that leaked for several years afterward.


source NTSB
type A
volume
material
dead 1
link

About 0324, on October 31, 1984, as the 660-foot-long U.S.- registered chemical tankship PUERTO RICAN was preparing to disembark a pilot about 8 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, an explosion occurred in the vicinity of the vessel's center void space No. 6. The main deck, over the void and adjacent wing tanks was lifted up, blown forward, and landed inverted over center cargo tank Nos. 4 and 5 and their adjacent wing tanks. An intense fire erupted and burned out of control for several hours. A few hours after the explosion, the vessel was towed farther offshore in an effort to avoid polluting the coastline if the vessel sank. Several days later the vessel broke in two while in heavy seas, and the stern section sank. The bow section remained afloat and was later towed to a shipyard. The pilot and one crewmember were injured, and one crewmember is missing and presumed dead. The PUERTO RICAN was valued at $35 million. The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the explosion on board the tankship PUERTO RICAN was the master's failure to require that center void space No. 6 be inspected for the presence of 50 percent caustic soda solution, when he became aware of the possibility of a cargo leak from center port cargo tank No. 5. Flammable hydrogen gas produced by the reaction of the caustic soda solution with zinc in the epoxy paint and in the galvanized piping in center void space No. 6 was ignited by an undetermined source.


source ERC
type D
volume 14,286 mt
material No 6 fuel, lube
dead
link

Fined 48,000 California. Fined 105,000 US.


source CTX
type C
volume
material
dead 1
link

The Farallones Sanctuary Association site has a picture of the fire, perhaps taken the next day. The fire is largely out but the main deck is practially destroyed from 15 m forward of the house to at least midships. Conditions are calm.

The NTSB abstract raises all kinds of questions. It is the only source that mentions caustic soda. Very little of the zinc in an epoxy coating is available for reaction, and it is hard to believe there is enough zinc in the piping coating to cause this kind of explosion. We need to see the report.

ERC spill number is double other sources.