Exxon Valdez sets course for scrap yard

The Exxon Valdez spill caused an estimated US$15 billion of damage and prompted a fundamental rethinking of tanker design.Originally published on The National.

The Exxon Valdez, perhaps the most infamous oil tanker of all time for its involvement in the spilling of crude oil all over Alaska’s pristine Prince William Sound in the late 1980s, has been sold for scrap.

In the spring of 1989, televisions around the world showed endless footage of sea birds and seals floundering in black, viscous crude after the 213,800-tonnevery large crude carrier ripped a hole in its hull on Bligh Reef in the sound, disgorging 32 million gallons of her cargo.

The accident caused what was then the worst environmental disaster in US history, surpassed now only by BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The Exxon Valdez spill caused an estimated US$15 billion (Dh55bn) of damage and prompted a fundamental rethinking of tanker design.

Since the disaster, the ship’s name has been changed five times and it has sailed under two flags of convenience – the Marshall Islands and Panama – and been involved in a major collision at sea. Several years after the disaster, it was prohibited by law from re-entering Prince William Sound when Exxon tried to return it to work in US waters.

Continue reading article on The National.



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