Exxon Valdez was the original name (later Sea River Mediterranean and eventually Mediterranean) of an oil tanker owned by the former Exxon Shipping Company, a division of the former Exxon Corporation. It gained widespread infamy after the March 24 1989 oil spill in which the tanker, bound for Long Beach California, captained by Joseph Hazelwood, hit Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef and spilled an estimated 10.8 million US gallons (40.9 million liters) of crude oil. This has been recorded as one of the largest spills in U.S. history and one of the largest ecological disasters.
The vessel has an all steel construction, built by National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego. A relatively new tanker at the time of the spill, it was delivered to Exxon in December 1986. The tanker is 300 m long, 50 m wide, and 27 m in depth (987 ft by 166 ft by 88 ft), weighing 30,000 tons empty and powered by a 31,650 shp (23.60 MW) diesel engine. The ship can transport a maximum of 1.48 million barrels (200,000 t) at a sustained speed of 16.25 knots (30 km/h).
At the time of the spill it was employed to transport crude oil from the Alyeska consortium's pipeline terminal in Valdez, Alaska, to the lower 48 states of the United States. The vessel was carrying about 1.26 million barrels, or about 53 million US gallons (200 million litres), of oil at the time it ran aground.
After the spill, the Exxon Valdez was towed to San Diego, arriving on June 10, 1989, and repairs began onboard on June 30, 1989. Approximately 1,600 tons of steel were removed and replaced that July, totaling $30 million of repairs to the tanker.
After being repaired, the Valdez was renamed the Sea River Mediterranean, later shortened to S/R Mediterranean, then to simply Mediterranean and sails under the Marshall Islands flag. Although Exxon tried to return the ship to its North American fleet, it was prohibited by law from entering Prince William Sound.
In 2002, the ship was removed from domestic service because it was too expensive to operate in the U.S. regulatory climate, and sold to a foreign operator. It is currently in East Asia.
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