Shop windows on the Kent coast of England ware shattered by the blast early today after the oil tanker "Texaco Caribbean" exploded five miles (8 km) away in the English Channel.
Shop windows on the Kent coast of England ware shattered by the blast early today after the oil tanker "Texaco Caribbean" exploded five miles (8 km) away in the English Channel. The 13,000-ton tanker had split in half after being in collision with the Peruvian vessel Paracas. Eight Italians from the crew of 30 are missing.
The stern of the oil tanker remained afloat for several hours after the explosion. The front section, including the bridge, sank almost immediately.
The ship's tanks had contained only water ballast. But evidently a significant amount of vapor remained from the cargo of petrol and petro-chemicals which she had discharged earlier. It must have been this vapor which was sparked off as the Peruvian vessel sliced through the tanker as it headed back to Trinidad for a fresh cargo.
The 9,000-ton Paracas lay at anchor for three hours after the collision, her bows torn and crumpled. Later she was taken in tow, reportedly towards Hamburg.
The 22 survivors were brought ashore at Dover. They owed their lives to the fact that the sea was calm at the time of the collision and that a Norwegian merchant ship was close enough to rescue them quickly from the icy water. They were given food and fresh clothing at a seafront hotel.
Later today workmen were repairing the damage caused in towns along the coast. The worst was at Folkestone's main shopping centre where thousands of pounds worth of shop window were blown in.