It was the worst environmental disaster in Alaska history, and occured in a very sensitive coastal ecosystem, magnifying damage. The spill immediately resulted in the death of oiled wildlife and significant reductions in tourism, recreational fishing and commercial fishing.
Though there were no human victims of the crash, hundreds of miles of pristine coastline became coated with oil and thousands of sea birds, mammals and fish perished in the disaster.
The Valdez was delivered to Exxon in and named after the Alaskan port terminal where oil was sent out to the main 48 states. It was capable of carryingtons of crude oil and was usually manned by a person crew.
On the night of March 23, the ship left port in Valdez at about 9 p. Captain Joseph Hazelwood was in charge, but handed over the piloting of the ship to Third Mate Greg Cousins shortly into the journey.
Just after midnight, there was a miscommunication on a change of course as the Valdez maneuvered its way through a narrow shipping lane between Bligh Reef and Busby Island in Prince William Sound.
Unfortunately, the response to the spill was not ideal. There was a limited attempt to use dispersants by helicopter, but there was only a small supply of them available near the site. Also, some reports suggested that dispersants, chemicals applied to the oil to push it below the surface where it causes the most damagewere ineffective.
Booms and skimmers, equipment that prevents the spread of oil in water and manually removes oil from the water, were not available for use until a full day after the spill. Unfortunately, even after the booms and skimmers were finally brought into service, they often broke down and were thus also not completely effective.- Detail March 24, - The Exxon Valdez crashes into Bligh Reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound, causing the largest oil spill in American history, eleven million gallons, which extended forty .
May 13, · Updated: Aug. 3, In March , the Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground on Bligh Reef, ruptured and spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound. Mar 23, · The Exxon Valdez oil spill was a manmade disaster that occurred when Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker owned by the Exxon Shipping Company, spilled 11 million gallons of .
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The Exxon Valdez accident on the Alaskan coast was one of the largest environmental disasters in American history and resulted in the deaths of , sea birds, thousands of sea otters and seals.