The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 was the largest oil spill in the U.S. (10.8 million gallons) and one of the largest in the world — until it was topped by the深水地平线溢出2010年，其中排放了1.14亿加油。环境灾难发生在阿拉斯加威廉王子的声音中，一个难以触及的位置，这使得很难快速有效地回应泄漏。
The Exxon Valdez oil tanker — which gives the oil spill its name — left the Prudhoe Bay oil field on Alaska's North Slope carrying 54 million gallons of oil. Its final destination was to be Long Beach, California, but the tanker ran into a reef just hours after departing Valdez, Alaska.
The spill had both immediately devastating and long-lasting effects on the environment, negatively affecting both human lives and wildlife. Alaskan waters are home to sea otters, salmon, seals, and seabirds, and the spill killed tens of thousands of them, as well as many other animals. In total, the spill affected 1,300 miles of coastline.
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Facts
- The oil spill happened in Prince William Sound, Alaska, located on the south coast of the state, 100 miles from Anchorage.
- The collision was the result of a number of factors, including crew fatigue, incorrect navigation of the tanker, and improper maintenance of the collision-avoidance radar system.
- After four years of work, only about 14% of the oil spilled was cleaned up through human actions.
The Oil Spill
The spill started on March 24, 1989 at 12:03 a.m. when the oil tanker, which had left the Alyeska Pipeline Terminal in Valdez, Alaska, a few hours earlier, hit a reef in Prince William Sound. According to a国家海洋和大气管理局（NOAA）报告, within 30 minutes of the initial impact, the chief mate found that all center and starboard cargo tanks were discharging oil into the Sound. Other tanks were damaged and the whole ship's stability was in question.
By the time U.S. Coast Guard investigators boarded the Exxon Valdez — just four hours after it had run aground — 7 million gallons had already been released. By about 6 a.m., 9 million gallons of oil were already dispersed in the Prince William Sound, and ultimately 10.8 million gallons were spilled.
While the initial blame for the spill fell on the captain of the Exxon Valdez, Joseph Hazelwood, he was found not guilty of the felony charge in a 1990 court trial. He was found guilty of a misdemeanor and had to complete community service.
TheNational Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found溢出的五个主要原因：
- Excessive workload which caused fatigue. The third mate failed to properly drive the ship due to lack of sleep the previous night再加上工作a "stressful, physically demanding day."
- Improper navigation watch by the master in charge at the time.
- Exxon Shipping Company's failure to ensure master was properly supervised and provide enough rest time for crew (and number of crew so this could happen).
- Failure in the U.S. Coast Guard's vessel traffic system.
- Ineffective pilot and escort services.
Initial Reaction and Cleanup
By the time the sun rose on March 24, the huge size and significant cleanup needed was already obvious from flyover surveys. Initial response for containing the oil from traveling was slowed by lack of equipment and workers out on holiday breaks from the Alyeska Pipeline Terminal. When people did arrive to help, they determined that the only barge that was nearby to help with containment was under repair.
For these and other reasons, theNOAA report溢出后的时间是，在阿拉斯加环境保护部和美国EPA中，1989年之前至少有五年的准备和执行较差和执行的噩梦。“
Chemical Dispersants and Burning
Due to the challenges of the area, including a rugged coastline, remote location, sensitive wildlife habitat, and fisheries, newer, less-tested cleanup methods were employed right away, including chemical dispersants. There are concerns about dispersantspushing oil into the water column where it can hurt other organisms, so it's not a perfect solution, but it can help keep oil off animals on the surface of the water.
The first round of chemical dispersant Corexit 95271 was applied from a helicopter and missed most of the target area. Six more applications of the dispersant were made between March 24 and 28, and three more were tried in April, but monitoring tests showed "no significant benefits" from the dispersant being used. A total of about 45,000 gallons of dispersant was sprayed.
一些油被烧掉了，这是一种更成功的方法来摆脱石油而不是分散剂。第一次试验烧掉了大约15,000加仑的溢出的原油，并制定了计划在其他领域使用该技术，但3月27日的风暴系统蔓延 - 这是一个大连接束的浮动油宽，所以燃烧不再是可行的选择。
As hours and days ticked by, the oil became more difficult to clean up than if it had been contained quickly after the spill. Over the months following the spill, storms, wind, and ocean currents distributed the spilled oilover 1,300 miles of shoreline, from the reef in Prince William Sound to the Gulf of Alaska.
The spill had both acute, short-term impacts on wildlife and environmental health, and long-term effects that persist to the present day.
A variety of wildlife in Prince William Sound and those that lived or used the rocky intertidal shorelines were partially or wholly covered in toxic crude oil in the days following the oil spill. According to theNOAA report，野生动物损失估计包括“250,000海鸟，2,800海獭，300个海豹，250个秃头老鹰，最多22只虎鲸，以及数十亿的三文鱼和鲱鱼蛋。”然而，很难知道泄漏杀死的动物的确切数量，因为水中的大多数尸体沉没。
虽然海洋哺乳动物专家认为鲸鱼和orcas.会远离石油泄漏,这将红色uce their exposure to toxins in the water, orcas were seen in the oil, next to the tanker, and close to oil-skimming operations.
Environmental Legacy of the Oil Spill
尽管有努力10,000 workers, 1,000 vessels, 100 aircraft, and four years of work, only about 14% of the oil spilled was cleaned up through human actions.
According to the埃克森·瓦尔德斯漏油泄漏受托人委员会, a group of state and federal trustees in charge of working with the public and scientists to oversee the spending of the $900 million that Exxon was forced to pay in cleanup costs, the oil lingered far longer than expected. After a two-year cleanup process, it was thought that natural processes would remove the rest of the oil from the environment. That didn't happen, and the oil along shorelines lingers to the present day, including some which has "retained its initial toxicity."
TheTrustee's report states: "Scientists studying the fate of the oil estimated (that) 20% evaporated, 50% biodegraded, 14% was cleaned up, 13% remained in subtidal sediments, 2% remained on shorelines, and less than 1% remained in the water."
Long-Term Impact on Wildlife
漏油事件的长期影响仍在studied and understood, but seabirds, sea otters, killer whales, and animals in the subtidal communities have all been affected. Studies funded by the Trustee Council found that long-term harm done to these animals "may equal or exceed acute injury at the time of the Spill."
Monitoring oforca种群透露"circumstantial but compelling evidence for profound effects that may lead to extinction in one orca subpopulation." Sea otter populationswere negatively affected for at least 10 years after the spill，由于石油暴露导致那些动物没有立即杀死的动物肺，肝脏和肾脏损害。此外，用于移动油海滩的高压水软管摧毁了支撑疏水的散泥层的复杂层层。
Less obvious impacts included fish在早期生命阶段接触碳氢化合物。细鳞大麻哈鱼大多反弹,但鲱鱼勒vels still haven't. Seabirds that depended on specific types of fish that were killed or whose population numbers were depressed suffered their own population declines due to lack of food.
The persistence of oil in the environment has, according to theTrustee Council's report，减缓了一些野生动物最长24年的野生动物，并影响了约25％的物种。他们报告说，石油每年减少4％，并将几十年或更长时间才能消失。
The impacts on the environment and wildlife aren't the only long-lasting consequences of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
The word "devastating" is often used in reference to the impact the oil spill had on the fisheries and the tourism industry in Alaska.
鲑鱼和鲱鱼渔业不仅在1989年损失收入，但在1993年遭到最艰难的袭击，当时被泄露而被泄漏的鸡蛋 - 将达到成年。一个估计将成本置于$300 million of economic harm to more than 32,000 peoplewhose work depends on fisheries.
According to the Indigenous peoples in the region,their livelihoods and way of life has been forever altered。
It's hard to put a number on the value of the thousands of animals that were killed by the spill, but there were someestimates made for the per-unit replacement costof seabirds, mammals, and eagles: that value was $2.8 billion.
但是，1994年，安克雷奇陪审团发现，埃克森的鲁莽应被认可并授予溢出受害者50亿美元的损失。埃克森呼吁这一决定，在上诉法院中减半。他们在法庭上支出了15年的吸引力，直到案件到2006年达成了美国最高法院。最高法院将惩罚性赔偿赔偿减少到5.07亿美元 - 该公司的收入约为12小时。
In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the石油污染法案(OPA), which required a phase-out of oil tankers with just a single hull. The idea was that a double hull could hold its oil contents if the exterior hull were breached.
In addition, the OPA requires oil tankers and other oil storage locations to create plans to detail what they'll do in response to large oil spills. There should also be area contingency plans to prep for oil spills on a regional scale.
The Coast Guard has published specific regulations for oil tankers and it has a satellite tracking system to monitor ships in the area. There are also specific tug boats that guide oil tankers in and out of Valdez to the Pacific Ocean.