Exxon Valdez marks 20 years

“We’ve fetched up hard aground, north of Goose Island, off Bligh Reef and evidently leaking some oil and we’re gonna be here for a while.”

EXXON VALDEZ (FOR RELEASE)Exxon Valdez has indeed been here a while.  One can only wonder if CAPT Hazelwood realized the impact his ship would have on the maritime industry when he made that initial call to the Coast Guard 20 years ago.  We have all been impacted by the events that occurred aboard the Exxon Valdez in the early morning hours of March 24 1989.  Today we mark 20 years since the largest oil spill in the U.S. occurred.  As a cadet sailing on a tanker running the Trans Alaskan Pipeline Route, I became very familiar with the terminal in Valdez, AK, the Vessel Traffic System (VTS), and the myriad of other regulations and requirements that have been instituted in the years following.  I will never forget realizing for the first time that the master and the pilot were required to take alcohol breath tests prior to getting underway as a matter of routine operating procedure.

Some numbers to ponder

Animals killed by oil spilled
250,000 to 500,000 seabirds

1,000 otters

300 harbor seals

250 bald eagles

22 orcas

billions of salmon and herring eggs

30,000: Number of plaintiffs

8,000 — estimated number of original plaintiffs that have died since 1994

1,600 — number of tons of steel removed and replaced during the repair of the Exxon Valdez tanker

$30 million — amount spent to repair the Exxon Valdez

$3.15 billion — approximate amount Exxon has spent thus far on cleanup and fines after the spill

$80,000 — approximate amount Exxon paid for every dead otter captured, scrubbed and released

5 — number of animal species known not to have recovered from the spill

6 — number of animal species known to have fully recovered from the spill

8 — number of animal species still recovering or “recovery unknown”

Number of Exxon Valdez spills it would take to equal the amount of oil spilled into the Mediterranean Sea each year: 17

Source: World Resources Institute (Washington)

Prince William Sound, AK (Mar. 28)--Workers steam blast rocks  soaked in crude oil from the leaking tanker Exxon Valdez.  The Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, March 23, 1989 spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil, which resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.  U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
Prince William Sound, AK (Mar. 28)--Workers steam blast rocks soaked in crude oil from the leaking tanker Exxon Valdez. U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO

Where is the Exxon Valdez Today?

The Dong Fang Ocean (formerly Exxon Valdez) anchored somewhere in Asia.
The Dong Fang Ocean (formerly Exxon Valdez) anchored somewhere in Asia.

Banned from ever returning to Prince William Sound and an enduring image problem, the ship was eventually re-named the SeaRiver Mediterranean or S/R Mediterranean and put into trade between the Persian Gulf and Japan, Singapore and Australia. SeaRiver became a privately held subsidiary of Exxon to shield the company and its fleet of tankers from further damaging Exxon as a whole.  According to people who sailed on her she had a good safety record and didn’t spill oil. Compared to thrashing up to Alaska in winter conditions, sailing the Indian Ocean was quite peaceful, and the Mediterranean was a popular ship with Exxon sailors.  In 2002 it the ship was put in a lay-up status somewhere along a forgotten section of coast near East Asia.  The ship was later re-flagged in the Marshall Islands and re-named the Mediterranean.  The ship was eventually sold in January of 2008 to Hong Kong Bloom Shipping Ltd. and was re-named the Dong Fang Ocean with the intention to use the ship as an Ore Carrier.  The vessel has yet to appear on the Baltic Exchange fixtures list, suggesting that it is still in lay-up.

Current vessel particulars:








110.831 tons


213.855 tons











Call Sign:  3EPL6

MMSI:  538002300

Through some research and investigation, I believe I’ve located the former Exxon Valdez in Google Earth.

Some additional coverage on the anniversary:

Bloomberg – Valdez Ghost Haunts Exxon With Spill Prone Ships

Fox News – Damage Still Seen by Exxon Valdez Spill 20 Years Ago

2 Comment

  1. […] plaintiffs are no longer alive to receive, or continue fighting for, their damages. An estimated 8,000 of the original Exxon Valdez plaintiffs have died since the spill while waiting for their compensation as Exxon fought them in […]

  2. aldoha.c@gmail.com says: Reply

    we want to follow/v Mariana III

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