In early January 1986, the ship partly loaded with crude oil left Teesport, UK for Quebec, Canada.
After unloading at Quebec, the ship sailed off the Canadian coast for tank washing.
She then sailed to Port Cartier,
where she was granted a gas free certificate following inspection by the Canadian Authorities.
After loading 88,764 mt of iron ore pallets, the ship sailed on 05.02.1986 for Immingham, UK
where she arrived on 24.02.1986.
The oil slops were not discharged in Immingham
due to the lack of oil slop receiving facilities in this port.
It should be noted that the vessel was classed by Det Norske Veritas as PET
(Protective Slop Tank), being able to carry oil slops safely.
On 16.02.1986 the Master was replaced for health reasons.
On 28.02.1986 after unloading her cargo at Immingham,
the ship sailed for Lisbon to be dry-docked and repaired.
Right after leaving Immingham,
the crew started cleaning the tanks under the supervision of the boatswain.
At 13:05 hr. of 03.03.1986, an explosion took place
and smoke started coming out of the right slop tank.
The crew used the fire hoses to water the slop tank,
right side tank No. 8, the pump room and the left side of the deck
in an effort to lower temperature and prevent fire or other explosions.
No one was hurt from the explosion
but cracks developed on the deck and the starboard side plating.
The bulkhead between the right slop tank and right side tank No. 8 was also destroyed.
The water inflow from the damaged side plating caused a 7o heel to the right and a stern trim of the vessel.
The Master attempted to bring her into the upright position by moving ballast water to the fore left ballast water tanks.
A much more powerful explosion took place at 14:05 hr of the same day in the pump room and the cargo control room.
A fire wave was seen headed towards the left life boat, which was broken into two and burned.
Out of the 27 members of the crew and 7 passengers on board,
the Master, chief mate and second engineer lost their lives, two other officers were injured,
while the second mate and a sailor were missing.
The fire following the explosion destroyed completely the pump room,
the cargo control room, the crew accommodation, the bridge and its auxiliary facilities,
and the life boats on the left-hand side of the deck
which were not used by the crew to abandon the ship.
According to the evidence, the most probable cause of the first explosion
is a crack due to localized structural fatigue on the internal sides of the right slop tank
or some other damage that allowed oxygen to enter the slop tank destroying its inert gas environment.
The first explosion damaged the electric wiring in the upper end lower parts of the pump room,
which might have resulted in the second explosion through
arcing that ignited the explosive gases that accumulated in this space.
The report concluded that no one is liable for the accident
as it could not have been avoided.
However, two of the five members of the Council were of the opinion that:
a) the owners of the ship are guilty of gross negligence
because although timely informed of the inoperability of the inert gas system
due to substantial damage of its components, they did not order repairs
of the system while at Port Cartie or at Immingham,
having selected instead an unsafe sailing of the ship to Lisbon,
apparently on financial grounds;
b) the Master is guilty of gross negligence
because he accepted to sail the vessel to Lisbon
despite being informed of the inoperability of the inert gas system
and the existence of oil slops on board; and
c) the two first engineers are guilty of gross negligence
because although responsible for the well functioning of the inert gas system,
they did not demand the undertaking of repair works while in Immingham.