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Argo Merchant; 29 miles southeast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts

29 miles southeast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts | 1976-Dec-15

Initial Notification: At approximately 0600 on December 15, 1976, the Liberian tanker Argo Merchant went aground on Fishing Rip (Nantucket Shoals), 29 nautical miles southeast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts in high winds and ten foot seas. The vessel was carrying approximately 183,000 barrels of No. 6 Fuel Oil (80%) and cutter stock (20%). The master of the Argo Merchant requested permission to dump cargo in an effort to control draft and re-float the vessel. Permission was denied and attempts to lighter and re-float the vessel using emergency pumps and an Air Deliverable Anti-Pollution Transfer System (ADAPTS) were unsuccessful. The following day the weather worsened and the crew of the Argo Merchant was evacuated. On December 17 the vessel began to pivot clockwise and buckle. On December 21 the vessel broke in two aft of the king post, spilling approximately 36,000 barrels of cargo. The bow section split forward of the bridge and capsized on December 22, resulting in the loss of the remaining cargo. The bow section floated 400-500 yards to the southeast and was eventually sunk by the USCG while the stern section remained aground. Prevailing currents carried the spilled oil away from the shorelines and beaches of Nantucket. Weather conditions and uncharted depths surrounding the wreck made salvage attempts difficult. USCG district 1. Keyword: Drift cards, Air-Deliverable Anti-Pollution Transfer System (ADAPTS), fingerprinting, sinking..

Incident Details
Primary threat:Oil
Products of concern:No. 6 Fuel Oil, cutter stock
Total amount at risk of spill: 183,000 barrels
Latitude (approximate): 41° 2.00′ North
Longitude (approximate): 69° 27.00′ West
On-Water Recovery: Unknown/Not applicable
Shoreline Cleanup: Unknown/Not applicable
Dispersants: Unknown/Not applicable
In-Situ Burn: Applied
Bioremediation: Unknown/Not applicable