On July 19th, 1979 two oil tankers collided in the Caribbean sea just off the island of little Tobago causing a widespread oil disaster. Twenty-six members of the crew were killed and over 280,000 tons of oil spilled into the sea. At the time, this collision was considered the worst oil disaster in history and to this day remains one of the few events where oil-tankers have collided with each other.
This oil disaster resulted from the collision between two tankers, the Atlantic Empress and the Aegean. Both oil-tankers erupted into flames during the evening hour collision, each carrying over 200,000 tons of oil. This oil disaster caused the Atlantic Empress to sink into the ocean on August 3rd, 1979. The ship was unable to be towed due to the constant explosions and raging fire. However, the Aegean was pulled back to Tobago after leaking thousands of tons of oil into the sea. As witnessed by many survivors, explosions rocked both two oil-tankers, leaving the surface of the ocean ablaze in a fire. The ocean fire didn't stop for another ten days as periodic explosions continued to plague both ships.
Water Emergency Preparedness
Water emergency preparedness may seem like overkill, because the chances of you being on an oil tanker are improbable, to begin with, never mind colliding with another boat. However, what isn't improbable are water accidents between pleasure crafts or ships and incidents at sea aboard cruise liners.
If you take the time to understand water emergency preparedness, you'll increase your knowledge and become better at surviving at sea. Everyday someone in the United States gets into a water accident with another boat or land. This type of accident may require you to abandon ship. For example, from the date of this article in 2018 alone, there were 11 water accidents in 8 different countries resulting in 444 deaths and 135 injuries. Understanding how to escape a sinking ship may become necessary.
Step 1: Know where the personal flotation devices are located onboard your ship. This simple task reduces stress and panic during an actual emergency event. Read the instructions found on the flotation device before putting it on. When needed, ensure you put on your flotation device.
Step 2: Allow women and children to board lifeboats first. Allowing woman and children to board first may be a law depending on the origin country of the vessel, or if you're in international waters.
Step 3: If the boat is in immediate danger of sinking ensure you send out a mayday call over the radio. To mount a rescue, provide the listener with any details on your location and coordinates.
Step 4: If you are onboard a cruise liner, listen to the staff for directions. They will be the best people to give you advice about your particular situation. Also, look for any announcements over the speakers or intercom.
Step 5: Try to stay calm and don't panic. Attempt deep breathing exercises or meditation exercises. Panic will only result in you becoming irrational and suffering from impaired judgments.