Exxon Valdez: March 24, 1989

Monday, March 24, 2008

On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez grounded on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska.  The resultant spill of 11 million gallons of crude oil was not the largest in US history and most people forget that salvage and response efforts kept the majority of the oil safety on board the ship.  The incident resulted in the relatively swift passage of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90).  A subsequent USCG Report  provides some context for the incident and changes that resulted therefrom.  One of the ironies of history is that Bligh Reef was named by Captain James Cook (during his third voyage of exploration in 1778) for William Bligh, who served as master of the HMS RESOLUTION during the expedition.  Captain Bligh became famous (or infamous) some years later as master of the BOUNTY [remember breadfruit trees, Fletcher Christian, and Pitcairn Island].  In Australia, William Bligh is remembered as the Governor of New South Wales during the 1806 Rum Rebellion. (Source: HK Law)


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