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.

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