STV Royston Grange – The British cargo liner was destroyed by fire after a collision with the petroleum tanker Tien Chee in the Rio de la Plata on 11 May 1972. There were no survivors.
The 7,113 ton Royston Grange, carrying 61 crew, 12 passengers (including six women and a five-year-old child), and an Argentinian harbour pilot, was bound from Buenos Aires to London with a cargo of chilled and frozen beef and butter. As she traversed the Punta Indio Channel, 35 miles from Montevideo, Uruguay, in dense fog at 5.40 a.m. she collided with the Liberian-registered tanker Tien Chee, carrying 20,000 tons of crude oil.
The Tien Chee immediately burst into flames and a series of explosions rapidly carried the flames to the Royston Grange, which burned particularly hot due to the cargo of butter and the oil escaping from the Tien Chee. Most of the crew and passengers were asleep. Although the Royston Grange did not sink, every person on board was killed in the fire, most of them probably by carbon monoxide fumes emanating from the refrigeration tanks, which burst in the collision.
The Tien Chee subsequently ran aground, blocking all traffic in and out of the port of Buenos Aires. Eight of her 40 crew, who were mostly Chinese, also died, but the remainder along with the Argentinian pilot managed to abandon ship and were picked up by cutters of the Argentine Naval Prefecture.