On 1st November 1968, the oil tanker Spyros Lemnos was transporting crude oil from Venezuela to Killingholme, England, when it broke in two 14 miles off the port of Vigo (Spain).
The fore part was found two days later with one person onboard. A search mission was immediately launched to find the stern of the vessel and the 29 other crew members.
During the night of 3 to 4 November, 10 men were spotted in a lifeboat. A few hours later, the bow part of the Spyros Lemnos was found, more than 50 miles from the stern, with 14 crew members onboard.
The fore part was not able to be towed due to the adverse weather conditions, and represented a danger for other vessels. It was therefore deliberately sunk by a Spanish warship, 45 miles west of Cape Finisterre. The rear part was taken in tow, but sank off the coast of Pontevedra (Galicia).
This shipwrecking caused the pollution of the Spanish Atlantic coast, from Finisterre to the Basque country, lasting up to two months after the accident.
Name: Spyros Lemnos
Date: 1st November 1968
Accident area: Cape Finisterre, Galicia
Cause of spill: structural damage to vessel
Type of pollutant: Venezuelan heavy crude oil
Quantity spilled: 15,000 tonnes
Ship type: oil tanker
Date built: 1953
Last update: April 2009