M/T Athos I Crude Oil Spill

State TrusteeState of Delaware
State TrusteeState of Pennsylvania
State TrusteeState of New Jersey
Federal TrusteeDepartment of Commerce
AO Bureau

Also Known As

Incident Type



New Jersey

Case Status



Delaware River



Contaminants of Concern Include


Affected DOI Resources Include

Migratory Birds, Recreational Use Loss

Case Description

On the night of November 26, 2004, the 750-foot Cyprus-flagged M/T Athos I struck an uncharted, nine-ton submerged anchor while attempting to berth at the Citgo Asphalt Refinery in Paulsboro, New Jersey. The anchor punctured the vessel’s hull, No. 7 center cargo and port ballast tanks. Within minutes, the tanker lost power and listed approximately eight degrees to the port side. An estimated 263,371 gallons of Bachaquero Venezuelan crude oil was discharged into the Delaware River.

The incident occurred on an incoming tide and within hours, oil was carried about six miles upriver to the Walt Whitman Bridge. The river was closed to commercial shipping traffic for over a week following the spill. The Salem Nuclear Power Plant near the mouth of the river was also shut down for over a week to prevent submerged oil from clogging its water intake system.

Ultimately, oil spread over 115 miles of the Delaware River and its tributaries, impacting approximately 280 miles of shoreline from the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge to the Smyrna River in central Delaware. It is estimated that 11,869 birds were killed, 4,122 acres of benthic habitat were oiled, and $1.3 million was lost in recreational uses such as boating, fishing, and hunting. In 2010, the Trustees received $27.5 million for the restoration of injured natural resources in the Delaware Estuary.

After the anchor punctured the hull, the Athos I listed eight degrees to port as oil discharged into the river., Credit: NOAA

The tanker Athos I was preparing to dock at a refinery in New Jersey when a submerged anchor punctured the ship's hull, spilling about 265,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware River., Credit: USCG

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 Document TypeDocument NameDocument Date


 Factsheet Delaware River 01/01/2012
 Factsheet NOAA Delaware River 10/01/2006
 Factsheet Restoration Alternatives 12/01/2008


 Restoration Agreement Restoration Memorandum of Agreement 03/03/2010
 MOA/MOU Trustees Agreement 04/11/2005
 MOA/MOU Trustees Agreement (addendum) 04/20/2010


 Claim Claim Determination  
 Claim Claim Determination (acceptance)  


 Study Report Aquatic Injury Assessment Report 06/21/2007
 Study Report Bird and Wildlife Injury Assessment 06/22/2007
 Study Report Injuries to Non-Tributary Shorelines 08/22/2008
 Study Report Restoration Scaling for Injuries to Birds 08/22/2008
 Study Report Restoration Scaling for Tributary Injuries 04/17/2008
 Study Report Shoreline Injury Assessment Report 03/21/2007


 Powerpoint Presentations Athos 1 Oil Spill Presentation 02/13/2009

No publications have been entered for this case.

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Case Contact

New Jersey Ecological Services Field Office

4 East Jimmie Leeds Road, Suite 4, Galloway, NJ 08205 | (609) 383-3938 | http://www.fws.gov/northeast/njfieldoffice/

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