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Summary on Exxon Valdez

  • Date Submitted: 03/23/2010 12:53 PM
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Summary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, 1989

        The Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster occurred in the Prince William bay in Alaska, on March 24, 1989. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur in history. An oil tanker ran aground on a reef off the Alaskan coast causing the release of gallons of crude oil into the sea! This significant oil spill at Valdez is ranked well down on the list of the world's largest oil spills in terms of volume released.[1] However, Prince William Sound's remote location (accessible only by helicopter and boat) made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response. The region was a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds. The vessel split open and released 10.8 million U.S. gallons (about 40 million liters) of Prudhoe Bay crude oil into the sea, and the oil eventually covered 1,300 square miles (3,400 km2) of ocean. This long-feared disaster wasn’t created due to physical dangers and meteorological conditions but due to human negligence and incompetence. The captain of the supertanker was found to be drunk and no senior officer was on the bridge at the time (from sources, this captain had previously be banned from drink driving). The Alaska pipeline company, which was supposed to react within five hours to such a disaster, didn’t do so! And following the wrong advice, continued to do nothing! High winds were affecting attempts to suck the slick from the sea's surface and residents reported poor air quality as emergency crews tried to burn off the top layer of oil. But apparently no crude oil actually made it into the Port of Valdez, as Bligh Reef is about 25 miles south of the Port. However, winds and tides moved the floating crude oil further south into the Sound and onto beaches. Oil covered over 1200 miles of rocky beaches — the task of cleaning it up was a big one.
Environmental consequences

- The vessel...

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