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Bahia Paraiso

Name
Bahia Paraiso
Accident date
28/01/1989
Location
Antarctica
Accident area
Arthur Harbor
Spill area
Inshore
Cause of spill
Grounding
Quantity transported
810 tonnes
Nature of pollutant
diesel oil
Quantity spilled
510 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Oil tanker
Built date
1981
Flag
Argentina

On 28 January 1989, the oil tanker Bahia Paraiso was en route to Palmer station, an Argentine scientific station, with 130 tourists and 810 tonnes of diesel oil onboard.

The vessel ran aground only 3 km from its destination, opposite Arthur Harbor (Antarctica), causing severe damage to the hull and the machine room. Some 510 tonnes of diesel oil were spilt into the sea.

No passengers or crew members were injured as a result of the accident, but the oil spill caused by this incident was one of the worst ecological disasters ever to occur in Antarctica.

The National Science Foundation organized an emergency spill response team composed of experts from the U.S. Navy, NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard and private contractors. The team brought 52 tonnes of spill response equipment for the initial survey and cleanup.

A year and a half after the disaster, scientists continued to observe a drop in seagull, skua, giant petrel, penguin and cormorant populations.

The studies carried out at Palmer station on the environmental impact of ozone depletion were completely disrupted by the oil spill.

In 1993, the Netherlands financed an operation to recover the oil remaining in the tanks of the wreck. The wreck of the Bahia Paraiso can still be seen today at Arthur Harbor.

Sources:

- HOOKE, Norman, 1997, Maritime Casualties 1963-1996, second edition, LLP Limited, Londres
- Stories, thoughts and other random bits from Antarctica
- National Science Fondation

Last update: 27/02/2009