Breakup and sinking of Texaco Oklahoma – March 27, 1971
The SS Texaco Oklahoma broke in two after being hit by a freak wave in the North Atlantic on March 27, 1971. The forward section, including the navigation bridge, immediately lost all power. The forward section then collided with the after section, destroying one of the two lifeboats rigged on the stern section, and subsequently sank, resulting in the death of thirteen mariners. The mariners in the stern section attempted to jury-rig a radio to send a distress message, but were unfamiliar with the process of sending Morse Code messages. High seas carried away the other lifeboat. When the stern section began to sink, the remaining mariners attempted to abandon ship in liferafts. A passing vessel found the survivors the next day. Of the 44 crew members on board when the tanker left Port Arthur for Boston, only thirteen survived. The casualty led to enhanced inspections of cargo tanks and improved methods of calculating hull stress. A memorial service, officiated by Father Sinclair of the Port Arthur Seafarers Center, was held in Port Arthur on March 27, 2011.It is never too late to remember and record such a true happening that does not seemed to be widely known. This article detailed the happening especially the results it caused but very little about the freaque wave itself -- just "being hit by a freak wave" and sadly only 13 of the 44 crew members survived, a major disaster for 31 families 42 years ago. I guess the communication was not as well developed as today. Does the Morse Code still required for mariners today? At any rate today's technological advancement in communications should hopefully prevent this kind of tragic case from happening again.