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On 26 December 2000, the Cypriot oil tanker Castor was on its way from Romania to Nigeria with a cargo of 29,500 tonnes of unleaded petrol (gasoline) when it encountered deteriorating weather conditions off Nador (Morocco). During the night of 30 December, a 24 m crack formed on the main deck of the vessel. The crew was evacuated due to the risk generated by gasoline vapours. A salvage team, hired by the owner, took control of the ship.

Emergency repairs were performed to reinforce the structure. Because of the nature of the cargo, several harbours refused the tanker. Consequently, the Castor was towed for 40 days through the Mediterranean. It is only on 8 February that the cargo transfer was carried out off the Tunisian coast.

The American Bureau of Shipping subsequently discovered that the rate corrosion of Castor was fifteen times greater than expected. Since this accident, Turkish authorities are rigorously inspecting all tankers, especially those with "flags of convenience".


  • IMO/UNEP/MAP/REMPEC, 2004, List of alerts and accidents in the Mediterranean
  • KUTZ Myer, 2005, Handbook of environmental degradation of materials
  • Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst

Name: Castor

Date: 31 December 2000

Location: Morocco

Accident area: off Nador

Cause of spill: damage to ship

Quantity transported: 29,500 tonnes

Type of pollutant: unleaded petrol (gasoline)

Quantity spilled: 0

Ship type: oil tanker

Date built: 1977

Flag: Cypriot

See also

Last update: September 2009

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