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 Laura d'Amato

SpillsLaura d'Amato

On the night of 3 August 1999, the Italian oil tanker Laura d’Amato spilled around 250 tonnes of light crude oil in Sydney Harbour due to two valves accidentally being left open after an unloading operation in the Shell terminal that day.

A large part of the residential sea front was affected by vapours, disturbing the nearby populations, including all the patients in a hospital, who had to be evacuated.

The Sydney Ports Corporation reacted quickly by surrounding the boat with booms to contain the oil. Six vessels were mobilised by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), as well as several dozen skimmers and nearly 300 people forming an intervention squad which was active around the clock from Monday to Friday. Regular overflights surveyed the area and the dissipation of the pollutants.

The Laura d’Amato left Sydney Harbour after paying a bank guarantee of nearly 5 million Euros.

Almost 130 tonnes of oil were recovered during response operations, in part thanks to favourable winds containing all the oil near the coast. The rest of the oil is thought to have evaporated or dispersed naturally.

In March 2000, the court sentenced the Italian company Fratelli d’Amato and the commanding officer to a fine of 510,000 Dollars and 110,000 Dollars respectively.

Name: Laura d'Amato

Date: 3 August 1999

Location: Australia

Accident area: Gore Bay, Sydney Harbour

Cause of spill: loading/unloading

Type of pollutant: oil

Quantity spilled: 250 tonnes

Ship type: oil tanker

Length: 241.8 m

Width: 42 m

Flag: Italian


Last update: July 2007

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