ROZENBURG – Op het terrein van Gulf Oil is een explosie geweest bij opslagtanks. Then a fierce fire broke out in the vicinity of the refinery. De oorzaak van de explosie is nog niet bekend. No one was hurt.

The fire started just after midnight. Staff discovered that there was a pipe to the two asphalt tanks that were at the back of the site, had exploded. The blows could be heard as far as Hoek van Holland. The fire that started afterwards could be seen in the distant surroundings as an orange glow in the sky.

In a first statement, Gulf Oil says that two storage tanks filled with asphalt on the site have exploded due to heat development.. The fire then spread to a fuel oil storage tank.

A few hours later, the two asphalt tanks had burned to the ground. The oil tank with fuel oil was then still ablaze.

The fire brigade received assistance from the company fire brigade of surrounding companies. It took a total of four hours before the fire was extinguished. The main task was to prevent the fire from spreading further.

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The damage from the fire is in the millions, according to the company. This is mainly due to the cleaning costs of the environment. Some of the fuel oil ended up in the surrounding area.

The refinery continues to run despite the fire, something that Gulf Oil says is due to the “decisive action of the fire service”.

Two years ago, the refinery near Rozenburg also made the news after a fire in a ventilation column.. There have been no major fires since then.


Hoe ging het verder?

A week after the fire, the police report that sabotage almost certainly caused the fire at Gulf Oil. Iron splinters were found during the investigation, that indicate an exploded bomb.

Close to the place where the fire started, the fence was also cut. Those two facts added together clearly indicate sabotage or arson, says justice in The Free People of 20 maart 1971.

But with that, the investigation came to a complete standstill. After a month, the investigation is still no further. The only lead the detective has is a piece of cardboard with the text 'GLO Operation'. Three sticky bombs were used in the attack.

Op 19 april 1971 A 26-year-old woman is arrested in Israel. It concerns a German-born Palestinian who is said to be part of the Palestinian Liberation Front. She is directly associated with the Gulf Oil fire. The woman would also have had a part in an airplane hijacking.

The woman would, so let the Israeli police know, acted out of 'romantic motives'. She would have been helped by four accomplices.

It soon becomes clear that Gulf Oil was not the specific target.

“It wasn't about Gulf. The aim was to focus international interest on the Palestinian resistance.”

(Public Prosecutor Van der Hoeven, TVNZ, 20-04-1971)

Another target mentioned is a storage yard of an Israeli company. Due to poor preparation, the bombs ended up in the wrong place.

During the interrogations, the woman mentions several names of accomplices. From that the police conclude, who have traveled to Israel for the hearings, that the woman played a minor role in the attack.

The woman did not know the purpose of the deeds. She was the driver of the saboteurs. After the bombs were placed she drove them back. She is also said to have been involved in a sabotage action at the Mobil refinery.

The Dutch police say that the woman did not cooperate in the attack for political reasons. She would have been in love with Mohammed Boudia, the leader of the French branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Boudia is said to have seduced several women and then persuaded them to help carry out attacks.

The woman is in July 1971 before the judge in Israel. She is sentenced to 14 years in prison, but released after three years for 'exemplary behaviour'. Two years later she is arrested again in France, for planning a bomb attack.

Boudia becomes in 1973 liquidated by the Mossad.

Gulf Oil's refinery was 1982 acquired by Kuwait Petroleum (Q8). In 2015 Swiss company Gunvor took over the refinery.

Sources:

The truth – 15-03-1971 – Waterway residents startled

TVNZ – 15-03-1971 – Five fire brigades deployed in refinery fire

Het Vrije Volk – 20-03-1971 – Fire at Gulf caused by sabotage

Het Vrije Volk – 07-04-1971 – Explosion caused by three sticky bombs Gulf sabotage investigation deadlocked

TVNZ – 19-04-1971 – Sabotage group confesses to attack Gulf Europoort in Israel

Het Vrije Volk – 29-04-1971 – All Gulf attack suspects are now known

RTV Rijnmond – Vergeten Verhalen – Terroristenliefje pleegt verkeerde aanslag