15th July 1975

Point Law runs aground off Alderney

Point Law was an oil tanker owned by Shell Mex and BP, which had been built at the Hall, Russell & Co yard in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1967. Less than 10 years later she ran aground Le Puits Jervais rocks off Alderney.

Point Law had not long left Guernsey, bound for the Isle of Grain, when it ran around in rough weather. Although her beaching was unfortunate, it could have been worse. She was sailing away from the Channel Islands at the time, having already put in at St Sampson and offloaded her cargo. She was therefore empty and there was nothing to spill into the sea.

The tanker had been sailing a crew of 12 men. Six of these were immediately rescued by the Guernsey lifeboat. The remainder stayed on the ship in hope that it could be refloated on the incoming tide.

Unfortunately, their hopes were in vain as the weather only got worse.

Punctured… and doomed

When it became obvious that the rocks had pierced each of her compartments and refloating would not be possible, the last six crew members were taken to Alderney by helicopter. Point Law was then left alone to be wrecked on the rocks.

One of four tankers built by Hall, Russell & Co for Shell Mex BP, Point Law had been at sea just eight years when she ran aground. She had a  gross tonnage of 1529 tons, length of 240 feet and breadth of 40 feet. The name “Point Law” was taken from a BP oil depot.

Guernsey Post issued a 34p stamp depicting Point Law on the rocks in May 1987 as part of a series depicting Alderney shipwrecks.


FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.



Other events that occured in July