The deck of Ocean Mammoth stretched nearly a fifth of a mile from bridge to bows; its superstructure rose above the water-line to the height of a ten-storey building; loaded it displaced 320,000 tons. It was among the latest and finest of the monster tankers that swarm in ever-increasing numbers across the oceans, yet in a time of falling freight rates and dwindling cargoes it had no useful part to play. It had to die. but the death of a supertanker is not easily contrived if it must appear to have been an accident.The conspiracy to take Ocean Mammoth to her doom involved meticulous planning an ruthless execution. Even then the story was far from over, for who was responsible? The formidable, withdrawn Captain Crutchley, whose secret disability nagged incessantly at his security? Freeman Jarrett, the flamboyantly handsome chief officer driven by relentless ambition and boundless conceit? Foley, the capable but colourless navigation officer, striving to hold a wife too attractive and extravagant for his peace of mind? Or was it someone else? Some other crewman who had access to the complex electronic system upon which the supertaker's safety depended? These questions remained unanswered until the final stages of the Court of Inquiry, when the truth emerges in a moment of sudden drama.

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