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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Aegean Sea KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 9
source CEDRE
type D
volume 66800T
material light crude oil
dead
link http://www.le-cedre.fr/en/spill/aegean_sea/aegean_sea.php

On 3 December 1992, the Greek oil-ore carrier was anchored in the stand-by area of the Ares-Betanzos Bay when it was ordered to enter the harbor of La Coruna at 5 AM for unloading. There was a heavy storm. The pilot could not come aboard. The ship ran aground when trying to enter the harbor, It broke into two parts and burst into flames, The bow part sank and the stern remained visible.


source LINK
type L
volume
material
dead
link http://esapub.esa.int/eoq/eoq44/lichten.htm

Figure 5 shows ship with port side on the rocks, burning amidships.


source ERC
type A
volume 74490 MT
material light crude
dead 0
link

Grounding in bad weather; operator error, required pilot not on board. Pilot Fined USD 5000, Master Fined USD 5000. [Cause wrong. See Marina Civil entry below.]


source HOOKE
type A
volume
material light North sea crude
dead 0
link

At 0200 on December 3, she received orders by VHF radio to enter port and rendezvous with the pilot after entering the western channel entrance to Corunna port. After commencing her turn into the channel, she encountered a force 9 (strong gale) westerly rain squall which severely reduced visibility. She then ran aground.

She immediately begain spewing her cargo into the sea. The pilot managed to board the stricken vessel 35 minutes after she ran aground. However, she soon broke in two forward of No 8 tank, and rocked by explosions, caught fire.

The 29 man crew, comprising the Greek master, Konstadinos Stavridis, and 28 Filipino seamen, plus the Spanish pilot, were also safely evacuated by helicopter without loss of life.


source EU, On the Safety of the Seaborne Oil Trade
type A
volume 74000T
material crude
dead 0
link

On 3 December 1992, the 114,000 tonne Greek-flagged OBO carrier Aegean Sea, carrying 80,000 tonnes of crude oil, grounded in bad weather while entering La Coruna, Spain. The pilot was just about to board the ship when she grounded. The impact fractured the hull spilling about 74,000 tonnes which subsequently caught fire and the ship exploded. Being an OBO ship Aegean Sea had a double hull. The cause of the accident was again human error caused by faulty navigation in bad weather conditions. [Got cause wrong. See Marina Civil entry below.]


source Marina Civil, Statement of Facts related to the accident of the Greek tanker Aegean Sea in the coast of the northwest of Spain on the 3rd December 1992
type D
volume
material Brent blend
dead 0
link

Ship loaded with 79,066 tons of Brent had been anchored at Ria des Area waiting for a berth. At 0000 hours on the 3rd of December, she was ordered in. Weather was squally with some squalls up to force 6/7, seas 3/4 m. The remainder of this entry is direct quotes.

By 03:30 hrs, the anchor was lodged in the housepipe [sic] and the ship went ahead to the West to the course 268.

The manoeuvre were slow. The Aegean Sea sailed at 5 knots, passing by the north of the Yacentes.

The ship kept going course 268, waiting for the right moment to turn on port to go down into the West Canal.

At 0:15 [sic, almost certainly meant 4:15], the Aegean Sea kept on the same course at the same speed. Five minutes later the ship started to turn to port. The turn was slow. In ten minutes had fallen til course 221, keeping identical speed, while the weather started to quickly deteriorate. What until that moment was developing normally, started to become complicated from 04:30 hrs on. The Aegean Sea had hardly modified to one grade her turn to port all along five minutes that seemed eternal. The Captain of the tanker ordered then the full speed of the 26,100 HP of its engine to win speed and manoeuvre capacity, putting the helm hard aport. Out of the bridge, the wind became stronger by the minute.

On board of the Aegean Sea, it was very well known that it was necessary to treach course 108 if they wanted to avoid the rocks of Punta Herminio.

The minutes following to 04:30 were dark by the Hercules Tower zone. The La Coruna Meteorological Observatory registered, by that time, winds of more than 100 km/hr, with visibility inferior to 100 m.

As a matter of fact, by 04:35 hrs, the course of the tanker was 190, well away from the 108 previously set.

By 04:55 hrs, the cloud burst went away and the Pilot could contemplate the ship running aground.

The Aegean Sea was firmly stucked into the rocks until the middle of the length and with a third of its stern floating at heavy waves mercy.


source Woinin
type D
volume
material crude
dead 0
link

Captain Pierre Woinin, a very experienced Master and Port State inspector, has strong doubts about the somewhat breathless Marina Civil account and CTX's interpretation of it. He thinks, given the weather, the Master should have declined the orders to enter the port. He thinks that the Aegean Sea had plenty of sea room to make the turn if she had gone far enough west. He suspects the fault lies elsewhere, perhaps a simple navigational mistake in the bad weather. Or, if the Marina Civil account is to be believed, the master tried to make too tight a turn. He also faults the location of the pilot station as being too deep within the channel. In any event, he doubts that twin screw would have made much difference.


source Lloyds List, date unknown
type A
volume
material
dead
link

Vulnerability of a large ship in a roadstead, in the interval between shortening up an anchor cable, and being smoothly underway and manoeuvring, is something that needs a lot more understanding. The Greek government's inquiry into the loss of the OBO Aegean Sea in the entrance to Corunna acknowledged this problem, when it absolved the master from blame for the frightful chaos which ensued when the ship was blown ashore by violent weather conditions. The Spanish government, significantly, has failed to acknowledge this professional investigation and is now seeking to prosecute the master, pilot, and owner of the ship.


source CTX
type D
volume
material C
dead
link

Greek investigation apparently exonerated Master but Greece does not make investigation reports public. Spanish courts decided that the pilot and the master were equally liable. Picture at esapub.esa.int/eoq/eoq44/lichten.htm shows the ship burning from ruptures near midship on the port side. According to the Marina Civil, when the ship hit she was headed almost south. The wind/waves must have pivoted the ship around the bow ending up with the ship heading more or less west, forcing the port side onto the rocks.

It is pretty clear that poor maneuverability at low speed was the major factor in this spill. The captain was in a bind. He had to go slow to pick up the pilot. But at this speed he could not turn the ship against the burst of bad weather. To turn to port, a single screw ship needs to push her stern to starboard. But loaded all the windage on these ships is aft. So as she tried to turn South she had to push her stern to the west, and at low speed she simply did not have the rudder power to do this. The basic problem was not the master or the pilot, but the design could not handle the weather conditions. A properly designed twin screw ship could have made this turn in these conditions, since it would have not needed to push the stern to starboard. And the Master could have backed and filled if necessary.

Ship was an OBO. LMIU says ship was double bottom. EU source says she was a double hull, which is probably correct. The CTX knows of no Aframax OBO's that were not both double bottom and double side. However, EU also calls this a navigation error, which is probably incorrect. Some wonder if this ship would have caught on fire if she had been a single hull. The problem with the Aegean Sea was not that she was double bottom, but the fact that she was not double screw. But if the ballast tanks had been inerted, she might not have caught on fire.

ITOPF says 74000T spilled.. IOPCF says 73500T.