DECEMBER 24, 1972 – MV SEA STAR SINKS IN THE GULF OF OMAN
The South Korean super tanker MV Sea Star was on voyage from Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when it collided with the Brazilian tanker Horta Barbosa in the Gulf of Oman on 19 December 1972. The tanker exploded killing 12 crew members. Both vessels caught fire but while the Horta Barbosa was extinguished within a day, the Sea Star continued to burn. After a series of explosions, the Sea Star sank 5 days after the collision. The incident resulted in the spillage of approximately 115,000 tones (787,000 barrels) of crude oil.
The disaster is today almost forgotten and little information about it remains. There are several reasons for this. The accident occurred in 1972 in the Gulf of Oman before the first global oil crisis occurred. The world of oil was then somewhat confidential. The ecological consequences remained limited. They may not have been properly assessed at that time or disclosed. If the oil spill caused by the MV Sea Star is not part of the top ten most important in history, it remains a major disaster.