MT Haven

Starting Date 
Thursday, April 11, 1991
Type 
tanker
Location 
7 miles off the Italian coast near Genoa
Estimated Spillage 
1,056,000 barrels (44,352,000 gallons), Iranian crude oil

While disconnected from a floating platform 7 miles off the Italian coast near Genoa where this Cypriot VLCC (very large crude carrier), leased by Troodos Shipping, was transferring oil, the ship exploded, caught fire, and broke in two. The bow sank in 450 meters of water, and the remainder of the ship sank 1.5 miles off the coast at 33-38 meters.

Clean-up Efforts 
  • The majority of oil was burned by Italian authorities.
  • The French pollution contingency plan (Polmar plan) was implemented, which included study and surveillance to monitor the various ecosystems.
  • Booms and skimmers were employed by a private company that recovered approximately 35,700 barrels of oil by April 16.
  • Booms were used to hold slicks off recreational beaches, but they were blown by storms, and oil got to the beaches.
  • Volunteers and the army manually removed oil and oiled debris, and vacuum trucks picked up larger pools of oil. Roughly 26,140 cubic yards of oiled debris were removed.
  • Diving operations (assisted by surveys using side-scanning sonar, sub-bottom profiling, and remotely operated vehicles) tried to recover some of the sunken oil.
Impacts 
  • 5 crew members died.
  • 450,000 barrels of oil burned.
  • Approximately 143,000 barrels spilled before the ship sank.
  • Small quantities leaked after the sinking.
  • 300 barrels of oil entered the Arenzano marina, covering boats, moorings, and harbor walls. The Varazze marina had less oiling.
  • 1,400 barrels of oil impacted 25 miles of Italian coastline.
  • A 154 square mile oil slick reached the coast of France by April 24, with mousse and sheen reaching some of those shores.
  • 1-2 inches of oil settled into fine sand beaches, and up to 1 foot into coarse-grained beaches.
  • 100 birds were oiled.
  • There was an estimated 43% reduction in fish populations in some fishing areas.