Date of Award

Spring 1979

Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


On February 6, 1978, in the midst of the worst blizzard to hit the Northeast in 100 years, the 682-foot Greek tanker GLOBAL HOPE with more than 340,000 gallons of oil aboard, dragged her anchor and grounded in Salem Sound, Massachusetts, about 15 miles from downtown Boston. An estimated 83,000 gallons of oil escaped the stricken vessel to be deposited on two of the most historic and picturesque coastlines of Massachusetts. Some 2.4 million dollars were expended from the federal pollution fund in cleanup efforts. This paper relates the chronology of events and examines peculiar problems, planning, and response activities of federal on-scene coordination during the incident. In addition, state and federal agency involvement are described relative to the flexibility, ingenuity, and orchestration required to deal with the myriad contingencies which arose during the response to the grounding and the subsequent pollution under the most extreme weather conditions.