Marcus Hook, PA Tanker Explodes After Collision, Jan 1975


Marcus Hook, Pa. (UPI) -- An American tanker rammed a Greek tanker on the Delaware River Friday, touching off explosions and fires aboard the Greek vessel that killed at least two men and injured at least 23 others.
Eighteen other crewmen aboard the Greek ship were unaccounted for, but some were believed on shore leave.
The U.S. Coast Guard said the tanker Corinthos, which carried a Greek crew of 41, was ripped apart by the blasts and subsequent fires that resulted from a collision with the American tanker Edgar M. Queeny shortly after midnight.
One man was pronounced dead on arrival at Crozer-Chester Medical Center shortly after the explosion and a second victim was found hours later on the roof of a warehouse. A spokesman at the Delaware County coroner's office said he was receiving "parts of unidentified bodies."
Twenty-two men from the Corinthos and one from the Queeny were treated at four area hospitals.
About 350 area residents were forced to leave their homes after the series of explosions rocked this Delaware County community, shattering windows in their houses and knocking doors off their hinges.
Coast Guard spokesman, Chief ED CONLON, said the Corinthos was docked at the British Petroleum Oil Co. refinery here when it was struck near its bow by the Queeny which he said "apparently developed some difficulty while getting underway from across the river."
Crewmen leaped from the Corinthos as it exploded, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the river. The Queeny sustained minor damage and moved out into the river. A barge docked in front of the Corinthos also burned.

Billings Gazette Montana 1975-02-01



Marcus Hook, Pa. (AP) -- Officials have abandoned hope of stopping the four-day fire aboard an oil tanker that exploded at its mooring here.
They say they are letting the ship burn itself out because the fire will consume the ship's oil cargo that otherwise would seep into the Delaware River.
Spilled oil from the Greek tanker Corinthos, which was rammed early Friday by another ship, has already sent slicks over a 50-mile area of the river.
Three persons are known dead, with another 25 missing and presumed dead, making it one of the worst water disasters on the Delaware. Twelve persons were killed when another tanker, Elias, exploded here last April.
The 754-foot Corinthos was unloading crude oil at a British Petroleum (BP) refinery when it apparently was rammed by the American tanker Edgara M. Queeny, sparking masive fires on the Corinthos.
Just what caused the collision is still undetermined, but some Coast Guard officials theorize there may have been a mechanical failure on the Queeny, which had just picked up a load of chemicals from a dock across the river in New Jersey.
A formal Coast Guard inquiry into the disaster will convene Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are most worried about oil slicks fouling some 30,000 ducks living along the river.
The decision to let the fire burn amounted to a tacit admission that the 25 persons missing since the collision cannot still be alive. Even after the fire is put out, it may be another day or two before the tanker can be boarded.
Saturday night, survivors from the Corinthos identified the three dead as GEORGIOS BARLALAS, 21, the second officer; CHRISTOPHER FERGADAKIS, 29, pumpman; and EVANGELIA KATTE, 24, the assistant radio officer. All are Greek.
Officials said an earlier identification of one body as MOUSA TAWFLIK, an Egyptian crew member, was inaccurate. He is now considered missing.
Officials estimated at the time of the blast the Corinthos had more than 300,000 barrels, or more than 12 million gallons, of Algerian oil aboard.

Bucks County Courier Times Levittown Pennsylvania 1975-02-03


Marcus Hook, PA - Ships collide

I just came across some photos of this disaster. My father was a contractor, running a job in BP when this accident occurred. I actually worked at the site for several months after the disaster, reconstructing pipelines that were destroyed! Bob

Corinthos in 1975

I had the same view of the ship like your and I was on board an Italian Tanker "Esso napoli 50,000 dwt the ship was really melted in the middle, the bulkheads melted like butter

M/V Corinthos

I do remember in september 1975 I was on board M/V esso Napoli from Italian Esso Tanker Company and we were coming from Paulsboro NJ to bunker and set route to the mediterranean and I rember the ship melted in the amid part like wax it was a really frightening view


I remember my grandfather taking me to see a large ship that exploded in the river behind the Philadelphia Airport. As I recall, the bow and stern looked raised and the middle was destroyed. I was 6 years old and have not heard anything or thought much about this in 35 years. I started thinking about this recently because of the Gulf spill and because of a shipwreck site someone recently sent me. Was glad to have found this article to confirm some of my memories about this and to find out more about what happened. Does anyone know if I am correct about where I saw the ship (probably towed there) and if I remember the damage correctly?

I remember this..I was eight

My dad was either fire chief, or asst fire chief for Marcus Hook fire company. Curt Weldon (now a congressman) was either the chief or assistant chief. They actually wrote a book together on this...its sitting on my dad's bookshelf!

I remember him being gone for days it seemed.


Corinthos explosion

My father was working 16 hour shifts at FMC when this explosion occured. He was knocked down by the blast. I have a book published on this disaster, given to me by my uncle who was a volunteer firefighter.


Woe I was just remembering this. I was a 15 year old kid in the neighboring town of Boothwyn.


I was in a little bar on Green St in Hook the night the ship exploded(about 7 blocks away).It was a sight I'll never forget.A piece of the deck the size of a truck flew several hundred feet into the air and landed in the river. People were running out of their houses as the windows were all broken from the explosions.My friend and I ran down to the river for a front row seat.The heat was so intense,you had to turn your face away. I was 21 yrs old.

Other Disasters

Thank you very much for the tips ..
I will research the two you mentioned today and add what I can find on the PA Explosions listing.
thank you again

Marcus Hook disasters

You might want to check "Bidwell" tanker explosion in Marcus Hook1932-35 period 12-13 killed.. also Sun Oil explosion 1946, 12 firefighters killed.