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Bow Mariner

Bow Mariner
Accident date
Accident area
off the coast of Virginia
Spill area
Cause of spill
Quantity transported
1,000 tonnes of ethanol, 720 tonnes of heavy fuel oil (IFO 380) and 166 tonnes of marine diesel oil
Nature of pollutant
ethanol, heavy fuel oil (IFO 380) and marine diesel oil
Ship / structure type
Chemical tanker
Built date
174 m

On 28 February 2004, the chemical tanker the Bow Mariner was transporting 11,000 tonnes of ethanol from New York to Houston. A loud explosion occurred and the ship rapidly sank 50 miles of the coast of Virginia, 80 m deep. Three people were killed in the accident and 18 others reported missing.

Ethanol is highly solublein water and slightly toxic. It has a low flash point and is classified as Marpol category 3. The impact on the environment was slight.

The NOAA ship the Rude took sonar images to locate the wreck and determine its position on the seabed.

The Virginia Responder, a MSRC (Marine Spill Response Corporation) response vessel, was contracted by the American Coastguards from 29 to 5 March. She recovered 7 tonnes of hydrocarbon. There was no impact upon the coastline or the fauna.

The company Smit was contracted to help in the search for the missing people and to inspect the wreck, using the POLREC system, a combination of ROLS (Remote Offloading System) and ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicles), previously used in the Ievoli Sun incident.

Last update on 02/02/2004

External links

Ethanol, International Chemistry Safety Cards, Department of Health and Human Services, USA

ITOPF, Bow Mariner, Explosion and Sinking, Norfolk, Virginia, USA, 28 February 2004

SMIT, SMIT Salvage awarded contract for ‘Bow Mariner’ in USA

CIIMAR database:  fate and weathering of Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) involved

NOAA database (IncidentNews)

NOAA, NOAA releases sonar imagery of Bow Mariner wreck

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