Bow section SS Sansinena lies partially submerged at Berth 46 after it exploded while refueling
|Length:||810 ft (250 m)|
|Beam:||104 ft (32 m)|
|Draft:||42 ft (13 m)|
|Capacity:||460,000 bbl (73,000 m3)|
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.
- Eppink, John J (March 1977). "M/T Sansinena Explosion". The Navigator: 47.
- Jerricks, Terelle (ed.). "The Blast Zone Remembering the S.S. Sansinena 29 Years Later". Random Lengths News. Archived from the original on 2012-06-23.
- "Marine Casualty Report SS Sansinena (Liberian) Explosion and Fire in Los Angeles Harbor on 17 December 1976 with Loss of Life" (pdf). National Chemical Safety Program. United States Coast Guard. 25 November 1977. USCG 16732/71895.
- "SS Sansinena (Liberian); Explosion and Fire in Los Angeles Harbor, California on 17 December 1976 with Loss of Life". Defense Technical Information Center (Abstract). ADA049805.
- "Sansinena Los Angeles Harbor, California 1976-Dec-17". Incident News. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14.
- "Sansinena". California Fireman. Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society. February 1977.
- "Berth 46 - S.S. Sansinena Explosion Site (Los Angeles, California)". Wikimapia.
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