SEVEN STONES REEF
On Saturday morning, March 18th 1967, it was announced over the radio that a large oil tanker with a full cargo had struck the Pollard Rock on the Seven Stones reef off Land`s End.
The publicity which followed this brief announcement almost reached `titanic` proportions, except in this case it was not accompanied by serious loss of life but was substituted by the spilling of crude oil. Between 100,000 & 120,000 tons of crude oil fouled many miles of Cornish beaches and sea shore, spelling death to many thousands of sea birds with the subsequent destruction of marine life.
Newspapers and Journalists used all their imagination and ingenuity to spread the gospel of disaster. Local newspapers are to be complimented on their accurate reporting and the lengths they went to to provide up-to-date information about this terrible calamity.
Huge quantities of the filthy, sticky mess was deposited by the tides on the shores of Mounts Bay.
One of the places to suffer first by this incursion was Porthleven. The Harbour and foreshore received more than a little of the slicks of floating eveil smelling substance. It was a pityful sight to see thousands of sea birds floundering with their wings clogged and bodies `gaggled` with the filthy substance, desperately trying to combat a hopelessly losing battle whose relief came when death put an end to their suffering. Crowds of onlookers from the cliff tops stood hopelessly and watched this horrific spectacle. The death and destruction of which created a number of organisations hastily set up to clean as many of the victims as possible and so spare their lives. Many thousands were recovered from the shores while great efforts were made to clear stuff from our shores but despite the many volunteers at a number of cleaning stations, a great number of birds died in their attempt to preen themslves. They took so much of this substance into their stomachs that they choked to death!
The Loe Bar received its unwanted share of the oil and for many months after the disaster patches of `tarry` oil adhered to rocks and in the sand and shingle.
Photographs of Porthleven Harbour with the huge crude oil slick. On the left you can see the `BOOM` thrown into position in an attempt to prevent the oil penetrating into the Inner Harbour. However, on the right you can see it had little affect as the Inner and Outer Harbours are completely covered with the substance.