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Accident date
Republic of Kiribati
Accident area
Fanning Island, 1,500 km south off Honolulu, Hawaii
Spill area
Cause of spill
Quantity transported
18, 000 tonnes
Nature of pollutant
cane sugar, copra, cocoa beans, palm oil and coconut oil
Quantity spilled
18, 000 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Cargo vessel
148.7 m
18.98 m

During the night of 17 August 1975, the cargo vessel Lindenbank drifted onto a coral reef at Fanning Island, 1,500 km south of Hawaii.

Attempts to raise the ship from the reef were unsuccessful. The crew lightered the vessel by jettisoning 18,000 tonnes of copra, palm oil, coconut oil, cocoa beans and sugar cane. Most of the ship diesel fuel was removed from bunkers and taken to Honolulu. Lightering was also unsuccessful. One month after the accident, a storm was brewing on Fanning Island, driving the vessel further towards the beach. It was determined that the Lindenbank was unable to be salvaged from the beach. It was therefore to be abandoned.

Although no toxic substances were dumped into the water, the effects of oily substances were similar to those occurring after a petroleum oil spill. Fish, crustaceans and molluscs died probably due to asphyxiation and clogging of the digestive tract. A green algal bloom was observed. It may have been caused by copra and cocoa beans that contain phosphorus and nitrogen. In conjunction with these fertilizers, trace metals derived from the ship's hull may also have stimulated algal growth. It appeared that recovery of the original coralline algal community was complete within 11 months following the spill.


- RUSSELL Dennis J. and CARLSON Bruce A., 1978, Edible-oil pollution on Fanning Island, Pacific Science, 32, 1-15
- HOOKE, Norman, 1997, Maritime Casualties 1963-1996, second edition, LLP Limited, Londres

Last update on 03/05/2011

See also

Végétable oil spills at sea, Cedre opérational guide

External links

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

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