Location: 29 miles southeast of Nantucket Island
Material spilled: No. 6 Fuel Oil and cutter stock
Amount spilled: 183,000 barrels
Spill extent: uncertain
None of WHOI’s oceanographic ships were in the area because of previously scheduled research cruises, but scientists on R/V Oceanus 400 miles away, upon learning of the growing crisis, immediately began steaming home. A hastily organized cruise left Woods Hole on Monday with physical, chemical, and biological oceanographers from WHOI, the Coast Guard, and Marine Biological Lab. With a gale approaching, the group was able, in the space of a few hours, to take sediment and water samples at two sites before deteriorating conditions forced them back to port.
On a second cruise immediately after Christmas the group was able to conduct a second cruise ahead of another advancing storm, gathering more than one hundred samples at six sites.
PublicationsFarrington, JW, HL Sanders, and JM Teal, et al., “Argo Merchant oil spill,” Science 195(1977): 932.
From Oceanus MagazineArgo Merchant: A Scientific Community's Response
By John D. Milliman, Oceanus Magazine, 1977