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San Jorge

Name
San Jorge
Accident date
08/02/1997
Location
Uruguay
Accident area
Off the coast of Punta del Este
Spill area
Offshore
Cause of spill
Grounding
Nature of pollutant
Crude oil
Quantity spilled
5,000 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Oil tanker
Flag
Panamanian

After grounding on an unmarked reef off the coast of Uruguay, the Panamanian oil tanker San Jorge spilt 5,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea, between 8 and 13 February. Oil slicks arrived on the sandy beaches of the popular tourist coast of Punta del Este and the small island Isla de Lobos, located 8 km south-east of Punta del Este. This island is a nature reserve which is home to some 200 000 seals and sea lions. On the island, oil was trapped in areas of rocky scree in amongst colonies of seals and sea lions. This was the main priority of response teams.

ITOPF was on site by 18 February and called upon a British expert for assistance concerning the seals and an expert from Cedre for the impact on fishing. Two experts from NOAA and a Canadian expert were mobilised by the Argentinean authorities. They were joined on 7 March by an expert from IFREMER.

Last update: 02/06/1997