Famous Shipwreck in San Luis Obispo: The Montebello


On December 22, 1941, the Montebello of San Luis Obispo prepared itself for its voyage back to the western coast. The crew members loaded over 78,000 barrels of oil which was meant to be supplied to the war effort. Unfortunately, that ship never reached its destination. Not too long after it had set sail, Japanese invaders had successfully torpedoed the ship and its cargo would become forever lost at sea. Captain Ekstrom yelled orders to stand to by the lifeboats and abandon ship. Quickly many of the crewmembers did as they were told and hurried to escape. Luckily in the aftermath of it all, the captain was successful in saving everyone in the 38-member crew. However, as the years passed the Montebello would come to elicit more problems than the local community would expect. Decades later in 1996 when the Montebello was rediscovered, scientists had rediscovered the ship along with its 78,000 barrels of crude oil. Although carefully intact, they figured out that if any of the barrels ever began to leak, it would cause a serious threat to the surrounding wildlife and San Luis Obispo community. California assemblyman Sam Blakeslee contacted the Unified Command led by the U.S. Coast Guard and California Department of Fish to conduct further testing to determine if there was a substantial oil threat. After a few years of research and experiments they finally concluded in 2012 that the ship would pose no harm and decided to leave it intact as it is. The  U.S. coast guard along with the Department of Fish still say that the continual checkup on the Montebello must be implicated every so often to prevent future hazards from arriving.

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