30 December 1978, the British tanker the Esso Bernicia collided
with the mooring jetty in Sullom Voe. She lost 1,100 tonnes of Bunker
C in the incident. The very strong currents in the area dispersed
the oil, moving it towards the neighbouring islands.
An considerable number of floating booms were used to protect the areas and to contain the oil. The use of skimmers was not possible because of the viscosity of the oil and of the low water depth.
Access to the polluted areas on the coastline was very difficult. As a result, manual cleaning was the only solution.
Name: Esso Bernicia
Date: 30 December 1978
Accident area : Sullom Voe, Shetlands
Cause of spill : collision
Type of pollutant : heavy fuel oil (IFO 380)
Quantity spilled : 1,100 tonnes
Ship type : oil tanker
Date built : 1968
Flag : British
Last update: June 2011