SS Sansinena

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SS Sansinena
SS Sansinena Explosion Port of Los Angeles.jpg
Bow section SS Sansinena lies partially submerged at Berth 46 after it exploded while refueling
Career
Launched: 1958
Identification: IMO 5311650
Fate: Exploded 1976
General characteristics
Type: Oil tanker
Tonnage: 60,000 DWT
Length: 810 ft (250 m)
Beam: 104 ft (32 m)
Draft: 42 ft (13 m)
Capacity: 460,000 bbl (73,000 m3)

SS Sansinena was a Liberian oil tanker that exploded in Los Angeles harbor on 17 December 1976. She was docked at berth 46 at Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, California.

The vessel was a steamship built in 1958. At its final port of call, Sansinena had discharged its cargo of crude oil and was taking on ballast and fuel when a massive explosion split the ship in half and obliterated multiple port buildings. The blast shattered windows for miles around and triggered a fire that spread across the dock and around the tanker. The Los Angeles Fire Department soon arrived on the scene to contain the blaze and rescue survivors. A United States Coast Guard investigation later concluded that the incident was caused by flammable vapor buildup on the deck of the ship. The ignition source was never identified.

The official casualty count is:

  • 6 dead, all members of the Italian crew
  • 3 missing and presumed dead (two crew and one dock security guard)
  • 46 injured, 9 requiring hospitalization

The explosion of Sansinena and technical details of the incident were featured as the first segment of the Engineering Disasters of the 70's episode of History Channel's Modern Marvels television series.

See also[edit]

Ralph J. Scott (fireboat)

Further reading[edit]

  • Eppink, John J (March 1977). "M/T Sansinena Explosion". The Navigator: 47. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°42′52″N 118°16′29″W / 33.71444°N 118.27472°W / 33.71444; -118.27472