You are at :

Cavtat/Lady Rita

Cavtat/Lady Rita
Accident date
Accident area
strait of Otranto
Spill area
Cause of spill
Quantity transported
270 tonnes
Nature of pollutant
tetraalkyl lead
Quantity spilled
270 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Cargo vessel

On 14 July 1974, the Yugoslavian cargo vessel Cavtat, which was carrying 150 tonnes of tetramethyl lead(TML) and 120 tonnes of tetraethyl lead(TEL) in drums, collided with the Panamanian bulk carrier Lady Rita in the Strait of Otranto off the Italian coast. The hull of the Cavtat was split open in the accident, making salvage of the whole vessel impossible. The ship sank in Italian territorial waters 4 hours after collision.

After more than two years of discussions and debate, the Italian Parliament granted financial support for salvage of the cargo. An Italian offshore company was in charge of localization and lifting of the 900 drums which were 100 m deep. Teams of divers worked for 1 year and 93% of the cargo was finally salvaged. The cost of the operation was 16 million USD.

20 tonnes of tetraalkyl lead remained lost. Ecological monitoring carried out afterwards showed minor environmental effects.


- HELCOM, 2002, HELCOM Response Manual - Volume 2

Last update on 13/08/2009

External links

Incident report available on the website Rempec

Tetramethyl lead, Maritime Safety Data Sheet

Tetraethyl lead, Maritime Safety Data Sheet

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

This site uses third-party services that can use cookies or similar technologies, to collect information for statistical purposes or to provide you with content tailored to your interests.