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Odemira marks 1989 oil tanker disaster

Published on 01/07/2019

Odemira Council is marking the 30th anniversary of a maritme accident that covered Praia do Almograve with crude oil.

Celebrations are in place to mark the efforts made by individuals and official bodies that restored this area of the southwest coast after the tragic accident in which the oil tanker ‘Marão Diários’ leaked crude oil.

On July 14, 1989, one of the largest oil slicks ever to have hit the Portuguese coastline left thosands of tonnes of crude oil on one of Odemira’s finest beaches.

Between 4,500 and 6,000 litres of crude oil were released when the Marão Diários hit the dockside on entering the Port of Sines.

The Council said that, “After 30 years, the challenge is to reflect on and debate the causes of the Marão accident and the main policies and measures currently in place to prevent and mitigate the impacts of possible hydrocarbon pollution.”

The programme of activities begins with the Almogrooves Festival, on July 5 and 6, at Praia do Almograve, an event that promotes music and environmental awareness.

Between July 8 and 13, several Environmental Education activities will be promoted at Praia do Almograve, aimed at children.

“How to keep the sea clean?” Is the theme of the Clean Sea Days scheduled for 9 July at 10:00 am at the Almograve Youth Hostel.

There also are walks along the beach guided by the biologist, João Castro and the geologist Sérgio Maraschini.

On July 13, from 9.30pm, in the Fuzileiros Square, in the village of Almograve, the documentary film about “30 years of clean sea,” will be screened, followed by the performance of the Odemira Philharmonic Band.

On July 14th at 4:30 p.m., in the Plaza del Fuzileiros, in Almograve, the exhibition “30 years Mar Limpo” will be inaugurated, followed by a celebration with those citizens who participated directly and indirectly in the cleaning of the beaches after the oil spill.

Tha Council archive recalls:

On 14 July, 1989 at 2:35 p.m., in calm, but rather foggy, conditions during a maneuver at the oil terminal, due to poor visibility the Marão Diários crashed into the jetty’s head damaging two cargo tanks, with consequent spillage of about 4,500 tonnes of heavy Iranian crude oil.

Emergency measures were activated, including the placing of floating barriers in the terminal area and the application of chemical dispersants.

24 hours after the accident, there was contamination on the beaches from Sines to Porto Covo. At 20:30 a.m. on July 15, the oil slick was 3-4 miles from the coast, from Sines to Vila Nova de Milfontes, showing a progressively wider shape in the north-south direction.

On July 16, there was a slick that had spread to the south, and there were still other scattered oil patches.

On July 17, a slick was drifting to SSE, from Vila Nova de Milfontes to Zambujeira do Mar. On 18 July, there were two more slicks, one approaching the coast (Almograve) and the other drifting towards the SW.

The next day, at dawn, there was contamination of Almograve beach and areas north and south of this beach.