Emergency Services

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Pollution from SS Torrey Canyon, Porthleven Harbour, 1967

PlacePorthleven Cornwall United Kingdom
KeywordsPorthleven Shipwrecks Fire Emergency Services
PhotographerOsborne Studios (Helston) Ltd
Copyright© Osborne Studios (Helston) Ltd

The oil slick at Porthleven Harbour after the wreck of the SS Torrey Canyon in March, 1967. It shows four firemen and a fire engine on the outer harbour walls during the cleaning up of the oil slick. There are hoses and barrells on the quay. The Ship Inn can clearly be seen in the background and there is a small cafe to the right of the Ship Inn. The tanker struck Pollard's Rock on Seven Stones reef, between the Cornish mainland and the Isles of Scilly, on 18th March 1967. Over the following 12 days, her cargo of over 119,000 tonnes of crude oil escaped into the Atlantic, resulting in Britain's largest oil spill to the present day. The slick contaminated 120 miles of Cornish coastline, then spread along the south coast of Britain and across to France. An estimated 15,000 birds were killed in addition to seals and other marine life. See also HESFM:1994.6401.1 and HESFM:1994.6401.2.