Irenes Serenade

Starting Date 
Saturday, February 23, 1980
Navarino Bay, Greece
Estimated Spillage 
36.6 million gallons (733,000 barrels) (102,660??? tonnes) Iraqi crude oil

While anchored at a bunkering site and refueling in Navarino Bay, Greece, explosions in the forecastle of this Greek oil tanker erupted; the ship sank after burning for 14 hours.

Clean-up Efforts 
  • Concentrated efforts to clean burnt oil residue, water-in-oil emulsion, and fresh bunker fuel.
  • Amenity beaches given priority for clean up (tourist area and area of archaeological and historic significance).
  • Booms, skimmers, and sweeping arms used to recover free-floating oil that escaped from the wreck.
  • Protective booms at bay entrance not effective due to wind and waves and chaving on rocks.
  • Viscous oil on rocky shorelines was scooped up and put into oil drums by teams of 4-6 men on small fishing boats.
  • Oil on sandy beaches that were frequented by the public and that had road access was shoveled into plastic bags and oil drums, filling 50,000 bags (including lots of sand).
  • After 2 weeks, bags and drums were taken to mining site 100 km away.
  • For the first 6 weeks after the incident, 17 vessels and 400 people worked to clean up. A small Coast Guard team remained to deal with the small amounts of oil still being released into the bay.
  • Viscous residue from the fire stayed in the bay.
  • Within the bay, oil-in-water emulsion occurred along the rocky shoreline.
  • 10-20,000 tonnes of oil flowed to the open sea and was assumed to have dissipated naturally but over several weeks contaminated mostly sandy beaches up to 100 km away.
  • Sand and pebble beaches were oiled, and in some locations the oil mixed with large quantities of seaweed on the beaches.
  • Oil continued to leak from the wrecked vessel.
  • One year after the incident, explosives were used on the wreck to release trapped oil. Negligible contamination on shorelines resulted.