Exxon Valdez Oil Spill 1989

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Exxon Valdez Oil Spill 1989 Introduction The Exxon Valdez was a supertanker that transported oil for Exxon Mobil from Prince William Sound, Alaska, to California. On March 24, 1989, the tanker collided with a reef, leading to a massive oil spill that would eventually pollute nearly 1,990 km2 of shoreline after spilling 38 million litres into the sea. Estimates of the crude oil lost by the Exxon Valdez are imprecise, but around 30–40% evaporated, 10–25% was recovered, and the rest remains in the marine environment. There are many factors that contributed to the scale of the disaster, almost all of which are Exxon’s fault. The ships captain had a drinking problem and on the night of the incident he was unfit to be in charge of the tanker and so left an unqualified crewmember in control. This inexperienced crewmember wouldn’t have collided with Bligh Reef if the ships RAYCAS radar had not been broken and disabled for more than a year before the disaster. The incorrect crewmember being in charge of the tanker (the third mate instead of Captain Joseph Hazelwood) and broken equipment played a huge role in the collision. Environmental Impacts Marine creatures were affected greatly by the spill as the toxic oil disrupted the food chain; the oil massively destroyed plankton numbers as it prevented sunlight from getting through the water (Plankton need to sunlight to grow, reproduce and ultimately end up as food for fish). Recent scientific studies have found that the fish developed gross deformities such as extra fins, or suffered from retarded development. Wildlife was also affected as thousands of birds and otters were killed as a direct result of the spill. When oil sticks to a bird's feathers, it causes them to mat and separate, impairing waterproofing and exposing the animal's sensitive skin to extremes temperatures. This led to many oil-soaked birds losing

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