The ship was headed for a disaster and nobody on board knew it . The Exxon Valdez was an oil tanker .It carried oil from Alaska to the lower forty- eight states . Its journey started in Valdez (pronounced val -DEEZ ) ,the town from which the ship took it name . The Alaskan oil pipeline , which carries oil from the vast oil fields of Alaska to the sea , ends in Vladez . It was here that the Exxon Valdez filled its huge tanks with oil , then sailed out of the bay toward the open ocean .
But before it could reach the ocean , the Exxon Valdez had to pass through some treacherous waters . Valdez Bay op ens into a body of water known as the Prince William Sound . On the night of March 23 , 1989 , Prince Willia m Sound was filled with icebergs .
The most easiest way to sail a ship in such water is to slow down to a crawl and creep past the danger sports But the crew of the Exxon Valdez didn't want to slow down . The longer it took them to deliver the oil , the more it would cost the Exxon Corporation , which owned the ship . So they steamed through the ice at nearly full speed .
Still , there should have no problem . Most of the crew had experience with ice and knew how to steer around it . Yet , somehow , the ship got off course , drifting close to an underwater reef next to bligh island , which is on the eastern side of the sound .
Fortunately , the reef was well marked by buoys , and there should have been plenty of room to get around it . Unfortunately , there was an iceberg in the way .
The captain ordered the ship's helmsman to steer between the iceberg and the reef . The young man tried to execute the captain's orders , but there just wasn't enough room .
THE EXXON VALDEZ ANCHORED FOR REPAIRS OFF THE ALASKAN COAST .
WE ARE SO SORRY FOR THE PHOTO
Shortly after midnight on March 24 , the Exxon Valdez hit the reef . A shudder passed through the ship . Eight gaping holes ripped open in it's side , and oil began to pour out . An oil spill was in progress .
Eleven million gallons of oil poured from the Exxon Valdez`s tanks into Prince William Sound . This was only one fifth of all the oil that the ship was carrying , but it was enough to make the incident a major disaster .
Oil and water don't mix , the old saying goes . Oil doesn't mix with thing that live in the water , either . The oil from the Exxon Valdez killed fish by the thousands . Dead sea birds , their feathers covered with oil , washed up on the beaches in huge numbers . The beaches them selves were soon covered with a black , tarlike substance . Attempts to clean up the Exxon Valdez oil spill were still going on years after it happened .
Within hours , news on the Exxon Valdez oil spill had been broadcast all over the world . The public was outraged . The idea of messing up the clear water and clean white beaches of Prince William Sound angered people loudly denounced the Exxon Corporation and demanded that it be punished for the spill .
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