Exxon Valdez Still Fighting on Death Row

Mike Schuler
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July 18, 2012

“Don’t look at me like that”

The M/V Oriental Nicety, aka the Exxon Valdez, is due to appear in front of India’s Supreme Court on Thursday to determine whether or not the vessel is clean enough to be beached and eventually demolished at an Alang shipbreaking yard.

The ship, which is sitting at anchor off India’s Bhavnagar coast, has been in the hot seat ever since the vessel was sold to an India-based scrapper for an estimated $16 million. Following the sale, concerns mounted that the vessel was too “toxic” for Alang beaches and eventually led to a court order preventing her demolition on the basis of the Basel Convention’s hazardous waste regs.  The ship caught a second break in June when the courts decision was deferred to July 19 but, according to India’s DNA news service, authorities who have inspected the vessel are expected to give the go-ahead this time around, which would mean the end for the infamous ship.

“We did not find any toxic or hazardous waste in the ship during inspection. We think it should be allowed to be beached” a source in the inspection team told DNA.

The vessel has had a busy life even besides the time Captain Joe Hazelwood infamously ran her aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, spilling 11 million gallons of oil and leading to billions of dollars in fines and cleanup for Exxon; litigation that still continues to this day; and regulations mandating the phase out of single-hulled tankers and other laws. Over the course of its lifetime IMO 8414520, or the Exxon Valdez as we all know it, has changed names and owners at total four times.  In 2007, the infamous tanker was converted into an ore carrier and was later even severely damaged in a collision with a cargo ship in the South China Sea in 2010.

Despite her rough past, however, the Exxon Valdez sailed to India under her own power where she awaits her inevitable future, wheven it may be, at Alang.

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