A great number of negligence caused the accident of the oil tanker Exxon Valdez on March 24, 1989 in Alaskan waters. It left the port of Valdez, loaded with crude oil and crossed the Straits of Valdez when the disaster occurred. The tanker was in an area where the radar system was obsolete; therefore, there were shadow areas. Thus, ships that cleaved these waters sometimes could not be located. Likewise, because a permit was needed to navigate there, that night the captain left the command of the ship to a pilot with no experience in that area.
And the tragedy happened: the oil tanker crashed into an iceberg. It opened a huge way in the single hull and began to spill oil.
The Coast Guard was alerted. The oil tanker took responsibility due to the aid delay. At first, physical barriers were applied, but due to the stain was very extensive chemical dispersants were applied. This was a technique never used before and for that reason it did not work.
The best way was to use fire. This greatly reduced the extension. However, the natural disaster was made and thousands of animals died in those nauseating waters. Rescue teams did what they could. They cleaned animals with soap, but it did not work much, because these animals washed themselves and swallowed toxic substances.
The consequence of this natural disaster was the human disaster since inhabitants’ supply with sea-products. Thousands of families run out of fishing for seasons…
This account is a brief description of what happened in one of the biggest man-made environmental disasters. And all was caused for a number of human negligence. It was the consequence of a bad or half-assed job.
José Antonio Calvo
Independent Forum of Opinion (Spain)