Exxon Valdez Finally Laid to Rest

Responsible for one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history, it looks as though the Exxon Valdez tanker will finally be laid to rest more than two decades after spewing millions of gallons of crude into Alaska’s ecologically sensitive Prince William Sound.

The notorious tanker has been sold to Best Oasis Ltd., an Indian company that buy sold ships solely to dismantle them, reuse salvageable material, and discard the rest.

The Exxon Valdez came aground on March 24, 1989, spilling millions of gallons of oil that coated the shoreline with petroleum sludge, killed nearly 40,000 birds, demolished the area’s fishing industry, and caused incalculable environmental damage. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) spent $900 million in restitution in a 1991 settlement and is still battling more litigation from the spill.

The tanker’s name and ownership have both changed many times since in a seeming effort to keep the ship in use while distancing it from the disaster. Best Oasis official Gaurav Mehta said his company bought the ship recently — it’s now a converted ore carrier known as the Oriental Nicety — but would not disclose how much he paid or the ship’s location or status.

At 26 years old, the tanker is relatively young to be destined for the scrap yard, but it has been considerably damaged in its lifetime, split open by rocks in the Alaska spill, and then further damaged in a collision in the South China Sea in 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Knapp at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com