Oil Spill in Panama

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An onshore oil tank ruptures at Refineria Panama S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of Texaco, Inc., and Panama's only oil refinery, at Bahia Las Minas, three miles east of the coral reef on the coast at Galeta Island, site of a study conducted by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute since 1969. Refinery personnel believed they had the oil contained until May 4, when a change of weather pushed the oil out of the bay and along the coast. On May 9, globs of crude oil begin to wash over the Galeta reef, where the STRI lab is located.


Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 371, Box 5, "The Torch," July 1986, p. 1-2.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


April 27, 1986


  • Petroleum industry
  • Barro Colorado Island (Panama)
  • Accidents
  • Oil spills


  • Barro Colorado Nature Monument (Panama)
  • Panama
  • Galeta Point (Panama)

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