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Marcus Hook, PA Tanker Explodes After Collision, Jan 1975

TANKER EXPLODES AFTER COLLISION.

Marcus Hook, Pa. (UPI) -- An American tanker rammed a Greek tanker on the Delaware River Friday, touching off explosions and fires aboard the Greek vessel that killed at least two men and injured at least 23 others.
Eighteen other crewmen aboard the Greek ship were unaccounted for, but some were believed on shore leave.
The U.S. Coast Guard said the tanker Corinthos, which carried a Greek crew of 41, was ripped apart by the blasts and subsequent fires that resulted from a collision with the American tanker Edgar M. Queeny shortly after midnight.
One man was pronounced dead on arrival at Crozer-Chester Medical Center shortly after the explosion and a second victim was found hours later on the roof of a warehouse. A spokesman at the Delaware County coroner's office said he was receiving "parts of unidentified bodies."
Twenty-two men from the Corinthos and one from the Queeny were treated at four area hospitals.
About 350 area residents were forced to leave their homes after the series of explosions rocked this Delaware County community, shattering windows in their houses and knocking doors off their hinges.
Coast Guard spokesman, Chief ED CONLON, said the Corinthos was docked at the British Petroleum Oil Co. refinery here when it was struck near its bow by the Queeny which he said "apparently developed some difficulty while getting underway from across the river."
Crewmen leaped from the Corinthos as it exploded, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the river. The Queeny sustained minor damage and moved out into the river. A barge docked in front of the Corinthos also burned.

Billings Gazette Montana 1975-02-01

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OIL FIRE CONTINUES TO RAGE IN MARCUS HOOK MOORING.

Marcus Hook, Pa. (AP) -- Officials have abandoned hope of stopping the four-day fire aboard an oil tanker that exploded at its mooring here.
They say they are letting the ship burn itself out because the fire will consume the ship's oil cargo that otherwise would seep into the Delaware River.
Spilled oil from the Greek tanker Corinthos, which was rammed early Friday by another ship, has already sent slicks over a 50-mile area of the river.
Three persons are known dead, with another 25 missing and presumed dead, making it one of the worst water disasters on the Delaware. Twelve persons were killed when another tanker, Elias, exploded here last April.
The 754-foot Corinthos was unloading crude oil at a British Petroleum (BP) refinery when it apparently was rammed by the American tanker Edgara M. Queeny, sparking masive fires on the Corinthos.
Just what caused the collision is still undetermined, but some Coast Guard officials theorize there may have been a mechanical failure on the Queeny, which had just picked up a load of chemicals from a dock across the river in New Jersey.
A formal Coast Guard inquiry into the disaster will convene Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are most worried about oil slicks fouling some 30,000 ducks living along the river.
The decision to let the fire burn amounted to a tacit admission that the 25 persons missing since the collision cannot still be alive. Even after the fire is put out, it may be another day or two before the tanker can be boarded.
Saturday night, survivors from the Corinthos identified the three dead as GEORGIOS BARLALAS, 21, the second officer; CHRISTOPHER FERGADAKIS, 29, pumpman; and EVANGELIA KATTE, 24, the assistant radio officer. All are Greek.
Officials said an earlier identification of one body as MOUSA TAWFLIK, an Egyptian crew member, was inaccurate. He is now considered missing.
Officials estimated at the time of the blast the Corinthos had more than 300,000 barrels, or more than 12 million gallons, of Algerian oil aboard.

Bucks County Courier Times Levittown Pennsylvania 1975-02-03

Comments

I was a member of a small

I was a member of a small dive team called in a few weeks after this tragedy to assess the ship's status so it could be removed. The thick steel decking was shredded and wrapped all about the superstructure like melted plastic.
Another dive team was tasked with finding and recovering any human remains.
The unfortunate victims unquestionably experienced a sudden and painless death.
My condolences to all concerned and my salute to those who contributed in preventing this from becoming a much bigger, more widespread tragedy.

Haven't thought of this for a while

I was 12 when this happened. Just a dumb kid in Twin Oaks (about 5 miles from Hook), who slept through the explosion, only to wake up to my Mom-Mom and Aunt Min sleeping in my living room. They lived on East 9th Street and their windows had blown in so my mom brought them home. My father, Salvatore Manerchia, was the dock chief at Sunoco that night. He went out in the river to try to contain the spill. He said that the heat from the blaze had his clothes smoking. It’s one of his favorite stories about how one boss was going to get in the boat with him and another boss said to the first one, “Howard, get out of that boat, you could get hurt…” Luckily, he didn’t get hurt but I remember that he was gone for days.

Corinthos Explosion

To All Looking For A Copy Of "The Corinthos Disaster-Oil Tanker Fire and Explosion". Dear folks, I am sorry it took SO long to find this publication! My Uncle Edward was a volunteer firefighter who was called in to assist on this disaster. It is a page sized book, 58 pages in black and white published by George Piasecki Enterprises, Marcus Hook, Pa. 19061. There are many photos and the text gives a good explanation of the event. I will do my utmost to make it available to those who cannot find it anywhere else. Please bear with me, as I am not terribly computer literate and will need assistance in scanning the photos and text. My email is valerieamber67@verizon.net. PLEASE do not abuse my email!

Sincerely,

Valerie Anemone

Marcus Hook Tanker Collison

I was 10 years old living in Claymont, DE. The explosions woke up our house. We had just watched a war movie earlier that night. I thought we were being bombed by the Russians and was terrified. I remember the rumors of body parts washing ashore on the banks of the Delaware. Terrible.

MENTIS FAMILY

I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIND SOME INFORMATION ON THIS TRAGEDY FOR YEARS. I LIVED IN BALTIMORE MD AS A CHILD. MRS. MENTIS AND HER FAMILY LIVED THREE DOORS UP FROM ME.I PLAYED WITH MARIA, JOANNE AND GEORGINA. I WAS A GUEST IN THEIR HOME MANY MANY TIMES. MRS. MENTIS WAS ALWAYS TRYING TO ENCOURAGE ME TO DO WELL IN SCHOOL. I KNEW MARIA 'S BOYFRIEND . HAVE WONDERED OVER THE YEARS ABOUT MR.MENTIS AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS. SO VERY VERY SAD.

Corinthos Fire Book

Hi ,

I am studying this fire as part of my graduate work at St Joseph's University. The book does not seem to be available anywhere. Do you happen to know where I can get a copy? thank you.

JEFF

Book

Would you be so kind to give me the title of the book that your family member wrote of this tragedy. Four of my family members were aboard the ship, Matina Mentis and her three daughters. I would like to have a copy of the book. Thank you!

SES Albatross

Dave
remember how covered everything was
can't remember if I was there that night or later
If you were there then Jeff probably was to

Corinthos Disaster

Hello Kara,
I'm so sorry to hear of your family's loss, you have my condolences. I will look for the book and repost here within a couple of days with any information I can give you.

-Valerie

Corinthos Collision and Fire

I remember the Corinthos fire and subsequent clean up. I was working for clean water incorporated upriver on the Elias that night. The Elias is the Greek tanker that exploded a year previously at Fort Mifflin. I heard the explosion and looked in that direction and saw an orange shaft of light going up into the sky. I went to Marcus Hook and helped with the cleanup after the fire was over. As the years went by, I had the opportunity to work on two other tanker collision/fires and numerous other oil and HazMat cleanups



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