HIGH SEAS: Sinking a Supertanker

Lloyd's pursues what may be the biggest maritime swindle ever

At 10:50 a.m. Greenwich time on Jan. 17, crewmen aboard the tanker British Trident sighted a ship in distress off the coast of Senegal in northwest Africa. The Salem, a 214,000-ton supertanker, registered in Liberia, was listing and dead in the water. By radio contact with the tanker, Trident learned that a series of mysterious explosions was responsible for the disaster; indeed, a cloud of orange smoke billowed from the tanker's deck. By 11:30 the disabled ship's Greek-born captain, Dimitrios Georgoulis, and his 22 crewmen, most, of them Tunisians, had...

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