OIL & WATER: Notable accidents involving oil

There have been no major oil spills from tankers in B.C. waters. Most local incidents involve barges or other vessels not subject to the higher safety regulations of modern tankers:


Fuel barge spilled 5,500 barrels of fuel oil in 1988 off Washington's west coast after the tow cable on the tug hauling it snapped. Tens of thousands of oiled sea birds died from northern Oregon to Vancouver Island.


Bulk carrier that in 2009 had a steering and navigation system failure and spun around at night and hit rocks in Douglas Channel, near Kitimat. Its nose was damaged and took on water, but nothing spilled and it limped back to port. The vessel had a pilot but no tugs.

Tenyo Maru

Fish processor carrying 14,000 barrels of various oils sank in 1991 after colliding with the bulk carrier Tuo Hi in Juan de Fuca Strait off Swiftsure Bank. Oil fouled shores from western Vancouver Island to Oregon.

Japan Erica

Freighter struck the Second Narrows railway bridge in 1978 in heavy fog. A pilot was aboard but the vessel had no tugs.

World Bond

Tanker at Cherry Point refinery in Washington suffered a flange failure in 1972, releasing about 300 barrels of oil, some of which reached B.C. shores.

Eagle Otome & Bunga Kelana 3

Two double-hulled tankers suffered spills in 2010, one in Texas with a pilot aboard and another in the Strait of Singapore. The two accidents spilled a total of 30,000 barrels of oil.

Exxon Valdez

The worst U.S. tanker disaster spilled 230,000 barrels of oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989. The region still hasn't fully recovered from the damage.

BP Gulf Spill

Five million barrels spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's Deepwater Horizon site in 2010 when a wellhead blew out and could not be plugged for weeks.

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