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At dawn on 7 March 1980, a distress signal was sent by the oil tanker the Tanio off the northern coast of Finistère (western Brittany). The vessel was sailing from Wilhemshaven to Civitavecchia (Italy) with 26,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil (n° 6) and 900 tonnes of bunker fuel oil. She was leaving the Channel when a violent storm spilt the tanker in two.

Despite a force 11 northwest wind, a British cargo tanker managed to quickly find the damaged vessel to the north of Batz island. The head of the vessel was floating vertically while the stern heeled over and drifted slowly. 6,000 tonnes of fuel were spilled out at sea. Rescue operations were organised at once by the Préfecture Maritime of the Atlantic, with the help of the French Navy's Operation Centre.

A French Navy helicopter rescued 31 crew members in winds of 50 knots. However, 8 others, including 4 officers, were reported missing.

The stern of the Tanio (Source: French Navy)

Composition and characteristics
Type Fuel oil N°6 (Bunker C)
Appearance at 20°C Viscous oil
Viscosity 33 cSt at100 °C
340 cSt at 50 °C
15,000 cSt at 20 °C
Pour point 9 °C
Composition paraffinics: 30 %
aromatics: 53 %
resins: 12 %
asphaltenes: 5 %

Name: Tanio

Date: 7 March 1980

Location: France

Accident area: North of Batz island, Finistère

Cause of spill: damage to ship

Quantity transported: 26,000 tonnes

Type of pollutant: heavy fuel oil (n° 6)

Quantity spilled: 6,000 tonnes

Ship type: oil tanker

Date built: 1958

Length: 191.88 m

Width: 24.57 m

Flag: Panamanian

See also


Last update: April 2006

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