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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Exxon Houston KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 4
source LMIU
type C
volume
material
dead
link

Broke mooring in heavy weather while discharging at Barbers Point, Hawaiian Islands and grounded on reef at Ewa Beach Mar 02 1989 Refloated Mar 3 Three cargo tanks and one fuel tank damaged. Sold for break up.


source USCG
type D
volume 600B
material
dead 0
link http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/moa/board/exxonhouston.pdf

54mm chafe chain broke in 25-30 kt winds, 8-12 ft seas. Lab showed defective weld, poor forging. Ship had just finished discharge, and was rolling in beam seas. master had decided to ballast but this was put off because crew was getting ready to fix deck crack iwo of stbd cargo tank. 400B were spilt for hose when it parted. Hose stayed with ship, keeping the Captain from using normal ahead manuevers because he was worried it would get caught in prop. Earlier terminal had removed quick disconnect couplings because they had problems with them.

While backing and filling, ship ran aground, in part because of poor plotting. A couple of tanks were holed including a bunker tanker which spilled 200B BFO


source CAHILL_SCTX
type D
volume
material
dead 0
link

Chafe chain broke at 1715, then the cargo hoses parted, one at the manifold, one at the SBM which left that hose trailing from the ship. Unlike the USCG, Cahill says there was 90,000 bbls still on board. An anchor was let go but did not hold. Work boat was trying to control the hose while the ship backed and filled. About 1930, they finally got the hose unbolted from the manifold, but the work boat took an unexpected strain injuring the hose crane operator. Mate who had been plotting position was sent down to the deck to administer first aid. During all this the captain lost track of where he was.


source CTX
type D
volume 600B
material
dead 0
link

Not clear why ship would stay on SBM with hose connected after completing discharge. Cahill account makes more sense here.

Later found a Hawaian source which quotes the On-Scene Coordinator as saying: "we were all fortunate that the T/V Exxon Houston did not lose the remaining 90,000 barrels of crude oil and 2000 barrels of Bunher C." Clearly the ship was still discharging.

This SBM is in a very exposed location 1.5 miles off shore.

Incredibly, the Courts found Exxon and the Master solely to blame for the spill on the grounds that the navigation error was the more proximate cause.