Castillo de Bellver
Date August 1983
Location: Saldanha Bay, South Africa On a global scale, the Saldanha Bay oil spill ranks only eighth or ninth in terms of gallons of oil spilled, but it is easily the worst marine environmental disaster on South African shores. It started when the Castillo de Bellver oil tanker caught fire about 100 kilometres northwest of Cape Town. The ship began to drift before eventually breaking apart and sinking 40 kilometres from the coast. The rear portion of the ship sank with around 31 million gallons of oil still aboard, but the front portion was towed away and sunk further off the coast to minimise pollution. In total, just short of 80 million gallons of oil polluted the west coast of South Africa.