Castillo de Salas (ship)

The Castillo de Salas was a Spanish bulk carrier that was launched in Ferrol in August, 1980. It weighed over 50,000 tons, displaced over 100,000 tons of water, measured approximately 250 metres (820 ft) in length, 40 metres (130 ft) across the beam, and 14.5 metres (48 ft) in draft. It required a crew complement of 32.

Name: Castillo de Salas
Owner: Empresa Nacional Elcano
Builder: Astilleros y Talleres del Noroeste (ASTANO), Fene, Galicia
Launched: August 1980
Identification: IMO number: 7624192
Fate: Wrecked, 11 January 1986
General characteristics [1]
Type: Bulk carrier
  • 51,000 GT
  • 109,488 DWT
Length: 261.43 m (857 ft 9 in)
Beam: 40 m (131 ft 3 in)
Depth: 20 m (65 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: Sulzer 7RND90 diesel engine, 20,300 hp (15,138 kW)


During the morning of January 11, 1986 the Castillo de Salas, property of the Spanish company "Elcano",[1] ran aground over rocks 740 metres North/North-west of Gijón. The ship was anchored outside Gijón's seaport (El Musel) when the ship's anchor came loose in bad weather. Efforts to re-anchor, self-propel and even tow the ship away from the coast failed due to harsh seas. The cargo was nearly 100,000 metric tonnes of coal loaded in Norfolk, Virginia as well as over 1000 tonnes of fuel-oil used for propulsion.

On January 15, 1986 the hull broke in two during efforts to bring the ship afloat, therefore releasing a spill of diesel oil and coal ore.

On February 23, 1986 the bow half of the hull was refloated, towed 39 miles (63 km) into the sea and scuttled in waters of 4000 metres in depth. Officials stated that no diesel oil was left in the bow section of the hull. During the following spring, the company "Fondomar" was tasked with scrapping the remainder of the stern portion of the hull.[2]

Second salvage of the stern section

Small balls of decomposed oil were found sporadically since until 2001, when a major find of these balls was confirmed to be from fuel remaining in the double bottom fuel tank of the stern section that was not removed in 1986. This led to a second salvage operation to remove the fuel during 2001-2002[3] and the complete the removal of the remainder of the wreck in 2003 due to public out-cry.[4][5][6]


On November 15, 2003 Gijón artist Joaquín Rubio Camín's sculpture "Memoria" (Memory) was unveiled on the Camino del Cervigón overlooking the sea. The sculpture was made using part of the remains of the Castillo de Salas which sank off Gijón and were recovered earlier in the year.[7][8][9]

One of the ship's anchors is displayed in the Philippe Cousteau Anchor Museum in Salinas beach, Spain, 30 km west of Gijón.[10]

Side effects

Since the accident, it is common to find dark sand contaminated with coal on the beaches in the Bay of Gijón, particularly after rough sea conditions. The amounts recovered continue to reduce over time, but patches of dark coloured sand, high in black coal particles, can be seen at low tide.[9][11][12]


  1. "Empresa Nacional Elcano". 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  2. Gloria López Gamallo. "Castillo de Salas 1986-2003" (PDF). Spanish Maritime Safety Agency.
  3. Gárate Hormaza, Francisco Javier (2001-09-12). "Contaminación de la playa de San Lorenzo de Gijón (Asturias) procedente de los restos del buque «Castillo de Salas», que embarrancó en dicha bahía en el año 1986" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado, BOE (Spanish). 229. Ministerio de Fomento (Spanish Government) (published 2002-09-24). pp. 7706–7707. 2002/229031.
  4. "Spill of Castillo de Salas". Centre of Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution.
  5. "El hermano pequeño del 'Prestige'" (in Spanish). El Mundo.
  6. Llamazares Trigo, Gaspar (2001-09-11). "Contaminación de la playa de San Lorenzo de Gijón (Asturias) procedente de los restos del buque «Castillo de Salas», que embarrancó en dicha bahía en el año 1986" (PDF). Boletín oficial de las cortes generales (Spanish) (in Spanish). 237. Spanish Senate (published 2001-09-27). p. 26.
  7. "Shipwreck sculpture unveiled". ThinkSpain.
  8. "Castillo de Salas" (in Spanish). Escultura Urbana. Archived from the original on 2007-08-26.
  9. "Castillo de Salas - Una incómoda zapatilla" (in Spanish). Mas Mar. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29.
  10. "Ancla del Castillo de Salas (1.980 — 1.986)" (in Spanish). Museo de Anclas Philippe Cousteau. Archived from the original on 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
  11. "La Columna - Castillo de Salas" (in Spanish). El Comercio.
  12. "El carbón del Castillo de Salas vuelve a la playa" (in Spanish). La voz de Asturias. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.

Further reading

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.