The USCG blamed both the pilots for going too fast,
and not going astern sooner, especially the burdened Alva Cape.
But it is more probable that this killer collision was caused
by going too slow, going astern,
and the ensuing loss of directional control.
What is strange is that the Alva Cape's bow went to port
when the pilot went astern.
On a single screw, right hand prop ship,
the stern should go to port when the engines go astern.
Even stranger he ordered one of his tugs to push
against the port bow, and the starboard anchor dropped.
Yet the bow went to port.
The USCG takes no notice of these strange happenings.
The Alva Cape pilot survived, and,
if there had been sort of mechanical problem,
he surely would have mentioned it.
It's conceivable the rudder was hard starboard
which would have tended to push the ship
in the opposite direction, once there was reverse
flow over the rudder.
We simply don't know.
The fire was put out in a couple of hours.
The Alva Cape, which had gone aground was refloated, and
the remaining cargo transferred.
But the USCG report gives no volumes spilled or recovered.
Hooke says Alva Cape was loaded with 143,000 barrels of naptha,
of which 120,000 were transhipped,
before she was towed out to sea and sunk.
But I went with the USCG number.
It is interesting that the Texaco Mass, a 16,515 GRT, ship had 27 tanks.
and 15,000 SHP.