the master of the Greek-owned, Maltese-flagged vessel Katina P deliberately ran the ship aground 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of Maputo in Mozambique and then abandoned ship. The tanker, which had been under way from Venezuela to the Persian Gulf, had lost a hull plate during a storm. Two of the vessel's tanks had ruptured and spilled some 13,000 tonnes of #6 heavy fuel oil in the Mozambique Channel. A further 3,000 tonnes leaked from the ship while it was aground.
A South African tugboat, the John Ross, was contracted by the firm Pentow Marine to tow the crippled tanker into the Channel where the remaining oil would be transferred to another tanker. During the tow the Katina P buckled amidships and on 26 April 1992 sank in 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) of water, 173 km (107 mi) from the Mozambican coast and 440 km (270 mi) north-east of Maputo. It is not clear why the oil transfer was not done at an early stage of the tow, as time was obviously of the essence. The south-moving Agulhas current spread the spilled oil into Maputo Bay, the estuaries of Incomati and Matola rivers, mangrove swamps of Montanhana and Catembe, beaches of Catembe, Polana, Costa do Sol and Bairro dos Pescadores, Xefinas Island, and many more with disastrous environmental and socio-economic effects.