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Olympic Bravery

Name
Olympic Bravery
Accident date
24/01/1976
Location
France
Accident area
Ushant island, Finistère
Spill area
Offshore
Cause of spill
Structural damage
Quantity transported
224, 000 tonnes
Nature of pollutant
bunker fuel oil
Quantity spilled
1, 200 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Oil tanker
Built date
1975
Length
342.98 m
Width
51.87 m
Flag
Liberian

On 24 January 1976, the Liberian oil tanker, the Olympic Bravery, sailing without any cargo from Brest (Brittany) to Foresund (Norway), where it was to be laid up due to a lack of chartering, faced a series of engine failures. The ship drifted towards Ushant island and dropped anchor. However, the anchor broke free and the tanker ran aground. Tugs were unable to refloat it. On 12 March, the ship owner signed an agreement to allow the tanks to be pumped out and the ship to be refloated, however the ship was damaged further the following day due to bad weather and more water entered the bunkers.

On March 13th, a gale broke the Olympic Bravery and 1,200 tonnes of fuel was spilled. Dispersants were spread over the polluted area, which spread over 4 km of the coast of Ushant. The army cleaned the polluted shore using shovels and buckets. Starting from 2nd May, the remaining bunker fuel (400 tonnes) was reheated and successfully pumped out, avoiding further pollution. The wreck was sold for scrap for a token sum, however it was so damaged that in the end it was left to the elements.

The four crew members of a Naval Air Force helicopter lost their lives during a pollution observation operation related to this spill.

Last update: 02/01/2000