Ex-'Exxon Valdez' Refused Entry by India

Times of India
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Exxon Valdez Aground: Photo credit NOAA US Govt.

In New Delhi the Supreme Court bans the old Exxon Valdez from entry & scrapping until decontaminated

The ship, now known as the "Oriental Nicety," entered Indian waters last week and was headed for Gujarat, when the Supreme Court gave its order, according to a news report in 'The Times of India'.

The ship was bought recently by the Hong Kong-based subsidiary of an Indian shipbreaking firm and was being taken to the coastal town of Alang, the hub of India's shipbreaking industry, for dismantling.

After the court's order, Gujarat maritime authorities and the state's pollution control authorities withdrew the permission they had granted to the company to anchor the ship near the Alang beach.

An environmental activist, Gopal Krishna, had filed an application asking the Supreme Court to give directions to the government and the shipping ministry on the purchase of the ship and its entry into Indian waters. The court has issued notices to the government and the ministry asking for information on steps it intends to take regarding the ship.

The Gujarat company contracted to dismantle the ship plans to appeal the court order. "We will abide with the Supreme Court order. We are studying the order, and will appeal," said Harshadbhai Padia, a partner in the company.

On March 24, 1989, millions of gallons of crude oil spewed into Alaska's ecologically sensitive Prince William Sound when the Exxon Valdez grounded, coating the shoreline with petroleum sludge and killing nearly 40,000 birds. The spill caused incalculable environmental damage and demolished the area's fishing industry.

Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., spent $900 million in restitution in a 1991 settlement and is battling more litigation from the spill.

The tanker moved on, with five name changes since the spill and ownership changing repeatedly, apparently to keep the ship in use while distancing it from the disaster.

The ship is 26 years old, not significantly aged for tankers, but it was considerably damaged in its lifetime. It was split open by rocks in the Alaska spill and was damaged in a collision in the South China Sea in 2010.


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