Oriental Nicety, formerly Exxon Valdez, Exxon Mediterranean, SeaRiver Mediterranean, S/R Mediterranean, Mediterranean, and Dong Fang Ocean, was an oil tanker that gained notoriety after running aground in Prince William Sound spilling hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil in Alaska. On March 24, 1989, while owned by the former Exxon Shipping Company, and captained by Joseph Hazelwood and First Mate James Kunkel bound for Long Beach, California, the vessel ran aground on the Bligh Reef resulting in the second largest oil spill in United States history. The size of the spill is estimated to have been 40,900 to 120,000 m3 (10,800,000 to 31,700,000 US gal), or 257,000 to 750,000 barrels. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil spill was listed as the 54th largest spill in history.
Exxon Valdez at Prince William Sound in 1989
|Port of registry:||
|Ordered:||1 August 1984|
|Laid down:||24 July 1985|
|Launched:||14 October 1986|
|In service:||11 December 1986-20 March 2012|
|Out of service:||21 March 2012 (sold for scrap)|
|Refit:||30 June 1989|
|Fate:||Beached for dismantling 2 August, 2012|
|Class and type:||VLCC oil tanker|
|Type:||ABS: A1, ore carrier, AMS, ACCU, GRAB 25|
|Displacement:||240,291 long tons|
|Length:||987 ft (301 m) overall|
|Beam:||166 ft (51 m)|
|Draft:||64.5 ft (19.7 m)|
|Depth:||88 ft (27 m)|
|Installed power:||31,650 bhp (23,600 kW) at 79 rpm|
|Propulsion:||Eight-cylinder, reversible, slow-speed Sulzer marine diesel engine|
|Speed:||16.25 knots (30.10 km/h; 18.70 mph)|
|Capacity:||1.48 million barrels (235,000 m³) of crude oil|
The tanker was 301 meters long, 51 meters wide, 26 meters depth (987 ft x 166 ft x 88 ft), with a deadweight of 214,861 long tons and a full-load displacement of 240,291 long tons. The ship was able to transport up to 235,000 m³ (1.48 million barrels) at a sustained speed of 30 km/h 16.25 knots, powered by a 23.60 MW (31,650 shp) diesel engine. Her hull design was of the single-hull type, constructed by National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, California. She was a relatively new tanker at the time of the spill, and was delivered to Exxon on December 16, 1986.
Incident and accidentsEdit
Prince William Sound oil spillEdit
At the time of the spill, Exxon Valdez was employed to transport crude oil from the Alyeska consortium's pipeline terminal in Valdez, Alaska, to the lower 48 states of the United States. At the time it ran aground, the vessel was carrying about 201,000 m³ (53.1 million gallons) of oil. After the spill, the vessel was towed to San Diego, arriving on June 10, 1989, and repairs were started on June 30, 1989. Approximately 1,600 tons of steel were removed and replaced that July, totaling US$30 million of repairs to the tanker. Its single-hull design remained unaltered.
The Exxon Valdez spill occurred under President George H. W. Bush, whose EPA Administrator William K. Reilly played a significant role in mobilizing presidential support for action to contain and clean up the spill.
Litigation was filed on behalf of 38,000 litigants. In 1994, a jury awarded plaintiffs US$287 million in compensatory damages and US$5 billion in punitive damages. Exxon appealed and the Ninth Circuit Court reduced the punitive damages to US$2.5 billion. Exxon then appealed the punitive damages to the Supreme Court which capped the damages to US$507.5 million in June, 2008. On August 27, 2008, Exxon Mobil agreed to pay 75% of the US$507.5 million damages ruling to settle the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska. In June 2009, a federal ruling ordered Exxon to pay an additional US$480 million in interest on their delayed punitive damage awards.
Return to serviceEdit
After repairs, Exxon Valdez was renamed Exxon Mediterranean, then SeaRiver Mediterranean in the early 1990s, when Exxon transferred its shipping business to a new subsidiary company, River Maritime Inc. The name was later shortened to S/R Mediterranean, then to simply Mediterranean in 2005. Although Exxon tried briefly to return the ship to its North American fleet, it was prohibited by law from returning to Prince William Sound. It then served in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In 2002, the ship was again removed from service. In 2005, it began operating under the Marshall Islands flag of convenience. Since then, European Union regulations have also prevented vessels with single-hull designs such as the Valdez from entering European ports. In early 2008, SeaRiver Maritime, an ExxonMobil subsidiary, sold Mediterranean to the Hong Kong-based shipping company, Hong Kong Bloom Shipping Ltd., which renamed the ship, once again, to Dong Fang Ocean, under Panama registry. In 2008, she was refitted and converted from an oil tanker to an ore carrier.
Collision with MV AaliEdit
On November 29, 2010, Dong Fang Ocean collided in the South China Sea with the Malta-flagged cargo ship, Aali. Both vessels were severely damaged in the incident, and Aali was towed to Weihai and Dong Fang Ocean was towed to Longyan Port in Shandong.
In March 2012, Dong Fang Ocean was purchased by Global Marketing Systems, Inc. for scrap at an estimated US$16 million and sailed under her own power to a ship breaker in Singapore. She changed hands again among scrap merchants (a common occurrence) and was eventually routed to Alang, India, under the ownership of Priya Blue Industries and at some point renamed Oriental Nicety. Before being beached, some tried to halt the action, arguing that the vessel was in breach of the Basel Convention. On 30 July 2012, the Supreme Court of India granted permission for the owners of Oriental Nicety to beach her at Gujarat coast to be dismantled. She was then beached at Alang on 2 August 2012.
In popular cultureEdit
In the sitcom Friends, Exxon Valdez is mentioned when Phoebe is asked to name one of Frank and Alice's triplets. She says she wants to give the baby a "strong and confident name, something like Exxon", and Chandler answers, "Well, it certainly worked for that Valdez kid".
Exxon Valdez is mentioned in the TV show Breaking Bad where a character compares another character's likeliness to 'spill' a secret with the aforementioned ship.
El Valdez appeared in the animated comedy American Dad! in the episode "You Debt Your Life". Roger is getting the captain of the ship drunk and the ship is seen crashing into an iceberg, which references the oil spill in Alaska.
Exxon Valdez can be seen at 1:49 of the Scorpions "Wind of Change" music video.
The Graf Orlock song: Nursing a Hangover from their 2016 LP Crimetraveler is a reference to the incident.
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- Musgrave, Ruth S. (1998). Federal Wildlife Laws Handbook with Related Laws. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-86587-557-9.
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- "Only Double Hull Tankers Now into EU Ports" By Tanker World, May 3, 2007
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- Staff writers (9 May 2012). "India bars Alaska oil spill tanker Exxon Valdez". BBS News. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- David Black (May 10, 2012). "New setback for troubled ship as India bars beaching". The National. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- "SC gives green signal for beaching of US ship". The Hindu. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- Halliday, Adam (2 August 2012). "23 years after one of history's worst oil spills, Exxon Valdez 'rests' in Gujarat". Indian Express. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Exxon Valdez (ship, 1986).|
- Emergency Response Division - Office of Response and Restoration - National Ocean Service (2010). "T/V Exxon Valdez". IncidentNews. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce. Archived from the original on 10 July 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- nature.com article about ship