Times Union –
The ship formerly known as the Exxon Valdez, responsible for one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history, appears destined for the scrap heap in a shipyard along the Indian Gulf of Cambay.
Such an end for the ship that spilled millions of gallons of crude in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989 is fitting, says at least one person directly involved with the disaster’s aftermath.
“My first reaction when I heard the boat is getting scrapped was ‘good riddance,'” Stan Jones said. Jones was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News at the time of the spill.
He now works as a spokesman for the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, a foundation set up after the spill with the goal of preventing similar disasters.
“It’s a symbol of a really dark day in Alaska’s history.
But then my second thought is that the boat alone is nothing. The problem was man and machine together. …
The good thing is that, today, the spill wouldn’t happen that way, or it would have been much smaller because of changes we’ve made.”
The tanker ran aground at Alaska’s Bligh Reef on March 24, 1989, and spewed 11 million gallons of crude oil into the rich fishing waters of Prince William Sound.
The shoreline was coated with petroleum sludge. Towns like Cordova that relied on fishing the sound were devastated.
An incalculable amount of damage was done to marine species and the surrounding environment.
An Anchorage jury in 1991 called for Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay $5 billion in punitive damages, thought the U.S Supreme Court later reduced that to $507.5 million.
Some litigation related to the spill is still ongoing.