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Oceanic Grandeur

Oceanic Grandeur
Accident date
Accident area
Torres Strait, Western Australia
Spill area
Cause of spill
Product transported
Sumatran crude oil
Quantity transported
55, 000 tonnes
Quantity spilled
1, 100 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Oil tanker

The incident

On the 3rd March 1970, the Oceanic Grandeur oil tanker was en-route from Dumai in Indonesia to Brisbane in Australia carrying 55,000 tonnes of Sumatran crude oil.

In the Torres Strait it struck an uncharted rock.  The accident damaged eight of its fifteen oil tanks which started to leak.

The tanker reduced its speed and anchored five nautical miles away.

Lightering operations

Cargo transfer operations from the Oceanic Grandeur to the Leslie J. Thompson and the Oceanic Liberty began on the 4th March and continued for 18 days. A second oil spill occurred during these operations.

Between the initial spill at the tanker's grounding and the lightering operations an estimated 1,100 tonnes of crude oil was spilt at sea.

Response at sea

From the 4th March, small vessels started applying dispersants on the slicks at sea away from the shoreline. The products appeared to be efficient on the slicks that had just been spilt but were inefficient on the slicks that had weathered for over 6 hours.

The strong current (6 knots) in the area prevented the deployment of booms.

The available waste collection and storage equipment was unsuitable which prevented the use of sorbents.

Once the tanker had been lightered, temporary repairs were completed on the hull to enable the tanker to sail to Singapore.

Environmental effects

The oil slicks reached the north-west shores of Goods Island. The environmental priorities were established by the Australian government.

Protection priority was given to the pearl culture industry, fisheries and the Great Barrier Reef.


Queensland claimed $137,000 AUD in compensation from the owners of the vessel.

No charges were brought against the captain of the Oceanic Grandeur. His reaction when the tanker struck the submerged reef was considered legitimate. The incident highlighted the need for stricter regulation of navigational standards in Australian waters.

Last update on 08/10/2013

External links

AMSA, Incident report

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