Puerto Rican (#) (-1984), 630-foot tanker, a ship of 20,295 tons, carrying oil that was disabled by a series of mysterious onboard explosions while the ship was within the boundaries of the Gulf of the Farallons National Marine Sanctuary. An estimated 4,815 seabirds were killed by oiling as a result of oil spilled from the ship; another 1,368 were recovered.
In the News~
November 1, 1984 [The Press-Tribune, Roseville] “FBI probing 'suspicious' tanker blast. San Francisco— The FBI is investigating whether sabotage was involved in three fiery blasts that rocked a 632-foot petrochemical tanker, injuring eight crewmen and leaving one man missing and presumed dead off the Northern California coast. The FBI is looking into the possibility that a bomb was planted on board the SS Puerto Rican Wednesday because of the "highly suspicious" nature of the explosion, FBU agent Robert Gast said Wednesday. The smoldering Puerto Rican was towed to an ocean dumping site, located 25 miles south of Farallon Islands, "just in case she sank," said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer John Relis. The tanker was reported to be leaning at a 10-degree angle. The Puerto Rican had become the target of a nationwide dispute between the Masters, Mates and Pilots Union and five shipping companies, a fact that fuels the FBI's suspicions, Gast said. A labor contract between the union and Keystone Shipping Co., which operated the Puerto Rican, expired in June and company ships have been picketed since Keystone terminated the pact on September 27. Keystone obtained a court order barring the union from engaging in "force or violence", and the union members are claiming they were locked out. Since the ship had recently docked, there probably hadn't been enough time for combustible chemical vapors to gather in its tanks, "giving rise to speculation that there might have been a bomb on board," he said... ”