Los Angeles, CA Tanker MARKAY Explosion, June 1947

Los Angeles CAL Tanker Markey explosion 6-22-1947.jpg



Los Angeles -- (U.P.) -- Flames licking at the shattered hulk of the tanker MARKAY hampered efforts today to find missing victims of Los Angeles harbor's worst explosion and fire.
Four persons were known dead, 12 were listed as missing and at least 24 were injured in the disastrous fire that began when the MARKEY blew up with an earthquake like roar in the pre dawn darkness Sunday. Only two of the dead were identified.
The 6000 ton tanker was loaded with nearly 3,000,000 gallons of automotive gasoline, which burned as it floated 300 yards across the channel and set fire to berths leased by the American President lines.
In all, five shipping berths and parts of two others were destroyed, six ships were towed to safety under an emergency plan whichhad been drawn up after the recent disastrous Texas City, Tex., explosion.
Tanks Scorched.
Twenty Shell Oil Co. storage tanks, loaded with 325,000 barrels of oil, were scorched by flames roaring 100 feet away. Firemen sprayed them with water and kept them from blowing up.
The lost tanker was valued at $3,500,000 and its cargo at $500,000. Firemen estimated other damage at $10,000,000.
After 10 hours the blaze was brought under control by 5 harbor companies, 3 fire boats, 14 companies from Los Angeles, 3 navy fireboats, and 1 from the coast guard. They were aided by volunteers and recruits from the Terminal Island Naval station.
Sullen flames still licked at the MARKAY today, however, and steel plates of the stricken hull were so hot it may be another day before searchers can board her to look for bodies and try to learn the cause of the blast.
Crew, Loaders Missing.
The 12 listed as missing were crewmen and loaders.
The MARKAY, owned by the Keystone Tankship Corp., had been sucking up gasoline all day Saturday at the Shell Oil Co. loading docks. It was two thirds loaded and was due to sail Sunday afternoon for Martinez, Calif.
Capt. JOHN T. TORRANCE, 50, Los Angeles, master of the MARKAY, was ashore at the time of the explosion. He left Saturday evening to spend the night with his family, he said. Because of shifting watches, he said he could not estimate how many were aboard.

Wisconsin State Journal Madison 1947-06-23