1967 – The Torrey Canyon oil spill

At its time, the worst ever oil spill, the wreck of the Torrey Canyon spilled more than 32 million gallons of crude oil into the waters of the Atlantic off Cornwall. The ship had collided with Pollard’s Rock on Seven Stones reef between the Cornish mainland and the Isles of Scilly as a result of human errors.

The ship broke up while a refloating was being attempted, leading to the death of one of the workers. In the weeks that followed, the slick from the spill spread to coasts of the United Kingdom, France, Spain and assorted Channel Islands, especially Guernsey. The wreck was bombed, both to set the oil ablaze (and thus remove it from the ocean) and destroy the ship (which now posed a hazard to navigation). Its remains now lie in 30 metres of water off the coast of Cornwall.

Referenced in:
Torrey Canyon — Serge Gainsbourg