All but two of the 84 men aboard two giant supertankers which collided off South Africa on Friday (16 December) have been reported safe...
All but two of the 84 men aboard two giant supertankers which collided off South Africa on Friday (16 December) have been reported safe...but hopes are dwindling for the other two men.
SYNOPSIS: Giant sister ships Venoil and Venpet, both of 330,000 tons, collided off the coast of South Africa in what's been described as the world's costliest maritime disaster. Both vessels were valued at 27 million dollars. The Venoil was loaded at the time with a quarter of a million tons of crude oil, bound for Canada.
Rescuers plucked 82 men from the crippled ships....and a hero of the moment was a helicopter pilot who plucked 16 to safety. But the struggle to put out the blaze from the burning Venpet was hampered by high winds. Both ships are owned by subsidiaries of the big American Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Japanese built, they are registered in Liberia. The area in which the two collided....around the Cape of Good Hope....is a notorious high-risk area. Two tankers collided there in 1974. Authorities said that both stricken tankers had serious fires blazing, and were drifting East. Anti-pollution authorities are trying to contain a six mile long oil slick...it's trailing from the Venoil. Both tankers were later reported under tow, although there was a near disaster when one of them....the Venpet.....drifted to within two miles of the South African coast.