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Atlantic Duchess Explosion

The following has been compiled from a number of different sources:

On November 30th, 1950, the Atlantic Duchess sailed on her maiden voyage from West Hartlepool to Abadan, Iran, to load a cargo of 12,000 tons of crude oil for the National Oil Refineries Ltd., Llandarcy, Swansea. The vessel arrived at Swansea on the night of January 29th, 1951, berthing at No.2 Jetty just before 5 o’clock the following morning. Discharging the oil began shortly afterwards, being completed by the early hours of February 2nd.

At around 5.00am, there was a massive explosion aboard the ship, which killed seven men, started fires in the midships accommodation area, and broke the back of the tanker. A second explosion ripped through the ship just before 10.30am,, injuring a further six fire-fighters. After raging for several hours, crews from shore-based fire appliances and the fire-fighting tugs Kingforth and Queenforth, eventually brought the fires under control.

The two halves of the vessel were later towed to the Graythorp Yard in Hartlepool and following major repairs, the ship was put back into service.

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