The terrible tale of the Torrey Canyon

2 min read

In the UK, we need to import crude oil. Few countries have the capacity to have a direct pipeline, and, as an island, we must look to use tankers to transport it. The UK has some of the busiest shipping ways and dangerous waters. The Mouth of the English Channel, between Dover and Calais, is a tight passage that needs careful navigation. The same is also true at the far end that reaches into the Atlantic Ocean. The coast of Cornwall is notoriously rough and treacherous. It is famous for its “Wreckers”, locals who would lure unknowing ships onto the rocks. Torrey Canyon was not lured onto the rocks, but when it did, it dumped a massive load of crude oil onto one of the most beautiful places in the UK.

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This was in 1967, and unlike now, when we have Spill Kits like those from, to help us clear up the mess, there was nothing to stop the millions of barrels of crude oil being deposited onto this incredible coastline.

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The ship did not sink, and the Governments response was to bomb the wreck to try and break it free. Kerosene and Napalm were dropped in an attempt to burn off the oil that was leaking out of the ship. The accident occurred when the ship almost hit a fishing fleet. To make matters worse, the captain and the helms persons weren’t sure if the ship was in automatic or manual steering. By the time they figured it out, it was too late.

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