Precis File
SHIP NAME:Oswego GuardianKEY:NUM. ENTRIES:4
sourceMOSTERT
typeD
volume
material
dead34
link

[In August 1972]...two Liberian-flag supertankers, the 95,000-ton American-owned Oswego-guardian, fully laden, collided with the 100,000-ton Greek-owned Texanita northeast of Cape Town in the Indian ocean. The Texanita, which was empty, exploded with such violence that it rocked buildings and woke people forty miles inland from the coast, which itself was twenty-three miles distant from the accident. The Texanita broke in two and vanished within four minutes. Thirty-three men died with the Texanita, and one aboard the Oswego guardian. Both ships were travelling at high speed through fog so dense that the master of the Texanita, who survived, couldn't see the masts of his own ship; although they had observed each other on radar, neither ship reduced speed. Texanita made only two attempts to plot the course of the approaching ship, the second when it was only four miles off, and the Oswego Guardian made no attempt whatever to plot the course of the other ship.

The chief officer of a Norwegian freighter, the Thorswave, later provided what might be the first electronic eyewitness account of a major maritime disaster. His own ship was in the vicinity and had watched the accident develop on his radar screen. 'I saw these two dots coming closer together together,' he told the Cape Argus in Cape Town. 'Then the two dots came into one. just then we heard this terrific explosion and felt our own ship shake twice. I thought there was something wrong with our own ship because the explosion was so loud. A minute or two after this I saw two dots coming away from each other. Then one dot suddenly disappeared from the screen.'

Immediately after the collision, the master of the Oswego Guardian ordered his ship at full speed away from the scene.

Noel Mostert_Supership_1974, at 61-62.


sourceOSIR
typeD
volume10020T
materialC
dead
link

Says only collision with tanker in fog. Puts location at 34.30S;21.40E, 93 km east of Cape Agulhas.


sourceHOOKE
typeA
volume
materialC
dead44
link

A total of 44 lives were lost when the 100,613 dwt Liberian tanker Texanita massively exploded, caught fire, and sank only four minutes after a collision in dense fog with the Liberian steam tanker Oswego Guardian about 50 miles east of Cape Agulhas in lat 34.50S, long 21.13E at 5 AM on August 21, 1972. Ten bodies were recovered from the sea while another 33 crewmen of the Texanita, which was on a ballast voyage from Trinidad to Ras Tanura, remained missing, presumed dead. There were only three survivors from the Texanita, including the master, Captain Juorios Salvuardos. The Oswego Guardian by coincidence on a reverse voayge fully loaded with crude oil from Ras Tanura to Trinidad, lost one crew member. Heavily damaged at the bow, forepeak, and port and starboard shell plating, she was escorted into Cape Town by the salvage tug Arctic for drydocking.


sourceCTX
typeD
volume10000T
materialC
dead34
link

CEDRE lists this spill at 100,000 tons. But the loaded Guardian obviously was still operable. South African environmental sources say 8000 to 10000T. Obviously, CEDRE added a zero. One South African source claims 47 casualties.

The breathless Mostert account requires confirmation. It seems extremely unlikely that two big tankers under radar would simply run staight into each other with neither ship doing anything. The fact that the Guardian survived showed she was the hitter, the Texanita was the hittee. The ships, one loaded and one in ballast, were almost certainly on nearly complementary courses originally. At least one ship had to manuever to generate a clear hitter/hitee situation. There is more to the story. We need more info. But one thing we can probably be sure of: the two ships did not talk to each other.

Same say OG backed off and left scene.

Photo of OG under repair in Capetown dock shows almost all steel removed back to windlesses in a nearly symmetric fashion, top to bottom.. Apparently she hit at a near 90 degree angle. But damage does not appear to extend back to the collision bulkhead. So where did the spill come from? Also damage extends all the way down to flat bottom. But OG was loaded and Texanita was in ballast. Hooke says OG was headed to Trinidad and Texanita was coming from Trinidad. But Trinidad does not import oil.

Maybe Texanita was not in ballast. Maybe one or both of these ships was running oil to South Africa, We just dont know.

Texanita was probably not inerted, but we need confirmation.