By the time the Passat arrived, the fire prohibited the ship from approaching the tanker. The Passat’s captain reported one empty lifeboat in the water, but a Canadian Special Forces plane conducting a flyover later reported two. Although no evidence exists to reveal the cause of the fire, the fire is ultimately responsible for the loss of the vessel, cargo, and crew. 132,157 tons of North Sea Brent crude oil were spilled and set ablaze 700 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic. All 27 crewmembers, 15 Greeks and 12 Hondurans, passed away (Autencio). After the fire died out, the remaining oil was allowed to drift out to sea and dissipate naturally. The after end of the ship sank to the bottom, but the bow was reported to be barely afloat, despite the fire …show more content…
However, the fuel covered three miles by ten miles of ocean and was allowed to dissipate naturally (Lawyer). This harmed local marine species, especially the krill population (Krill Facts). Since krill is at the bottom of the food chain, it is possible that the Odyssey’s explosion caused a greater impact on marine life, but no sources have data to prove this.
The explosion of the Odyssey occurred in 1988. At that time the regulations regarding inert gas systems were as follows:
An inert gas system was required on existing product carriers from 1 May 1983 and by 1 May 1985 for ships of 40-70,000 dwt and down to 20,000 dwt which were fitted with high capacity washing machines (IMO Protocol of 1978)
Since the dead weight tonnage of the Odyssey was below 70,000 tons and was most likely not fitted with a high capacity washing machine, it is unlikely that the tanker utilized an inert gas system. The Odyssey was capable of carrying 132,157 tons of oil and on its last trip it completely filled its tanks. Without an inert gas system, the oil would be free to vaporize; leading to an increase in pressure. Furthermore, with turbulent conditions, the oil would become an electrostatic hazard. Static accumulation, due partially to insufficient grounding, can ignite a spark and cause an explosion when the fuel is between the LEL and UEL. Though no official report of the incident exists, it