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ABT Summer

SpillsABT Summer

The incident

On the morning of 28 May 1991, the Liberian oil tanker ABT Summer exploded 1,287 km off the coast of Angola (Africa). It was transporting 260,000 tonnes of heavy Iranian crude. In the afternoon, 7 vessels arrived onsite to rescue the crew. 27 people were rescued, however one person was killed and 4 went missing.

Two tugs, the Red Kestrel and the Red Robin, as well as a plane attempted to fight the fire onboard the ship.

On 29 May, the flames were still raging onboard the ABT Summer and an oil slick was beginning to form around the ship (32 km long by 7 km wide). The tanker burnt for 3 days before sinking on 1st June.

In June, the response team attempted to track down signs from the ABT Summer to locate the wreck, in vain. The wreck has never been found since.


As the incident occurred far from the coast, there was little environmental impact.


  • Oil spill intelligence report, 30 May 1991
  • Golob's Oil Pollution Bulletin, 7 June 1991, Liberian tanker explodes in Atlantic off Angola
  • L.C. White and F.C. Molloy, 2003, Factors that determine the cost of oil spills
  • HOOKE, Norman, 1997, Maritime Casualties 1963-1996, second edition, LLP Limited, London

Name: ABT Summer

Date: 28/05/1991

Location: Angola

Accident area: 1,287 km off Angola

Cause of spill: explosion

Product transported: heavy Iranian crude

Quantity transported: 260,000 tonnes

Type of pollutant: heavy Iranian crude

Quantity spilled: between 44,000 and 57,000 tonnes

Ship type: oil tanker

Date built: 1974

Shipyard: Ulsan, South Korea

Length: 344.43 m

Width: 81.87 m

Flag: Liberian

Owner: Somatra ltd

Operator: Arabian Bulk Trading ltd. of Al Khobar

Charterer: The National Iranian Tanker Co.

Last update: 16 June 2010

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