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Hamilton Trader

Name
Hamilton Trader
Accident date
30/04/1969
Location
Irish Sea
Accident area
Liverpool Bay, England
Spill area
Offshore
Cause of spill
Collision
Quantity transported
12, 000 tonnes
Nature of pollutant
heavy fuel oil (n°6)
Quantity spilled
700 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Oil tanker
Built date
1959
Flag
British

The accident

On 30 April 1969, at dawn, the ship Hannes Kuppel, collided with the tanker Hamilton Trader, anchored in Liverpool Bay (Irish Sea). A hole in the starboard side of the Hamilton Trader allowed around 700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil (n°6) to be spilled at sea. The spilled oil affected more than 70 km of shoreline.

Response

The oil drifted to the west. On 2 May, when response operations began, the slicks were less than 20 km north of Rhyl, Wales, slightly dispersed.

The first part of the response operations, conducted by Esso Petroleum Company LTD, owner of the Hamilton Trader cargo, involved spraying chemical dispersants (Corexit 7664) on the oil slicks. A fishing vessel and two aircraft were used. Dispersant operations ended on 4 May as the two aircraft were restricted by poor visibility.

The oil was then driven to the north and reached the shore at Selker Bay on 11 May. More than 70 km of shoreline had been damaged up to Allonby in the Solway Firth. Onshore clean-up operations only used mechanical recovery.

Impact

The total number of seabirds killed by the oil was estimated at 5,000. The birds affected were mainly razorbills, but terns and seagulls also suffered.

A number of large fisheries, settled on the northern Welsh coasts, were threatened by the spill. Fortunately east winds kept the oil away, thus protecting these economic activities.

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Accident localisation

Sources:

- NOAA, Oil spill case histories 1967-1991, Report No. HMRAD
- IFP, Banques de données sur les accidents de navire ayant provoqué un déversement de pétrole en mer supérieur à 500 tonnes, 1955-1969, Réf. 26 693, Janvier 1979

Last update: 02/06/2004