Other names: Exxon Mediterranean (1989-1993); S/R Mediterranean (1993-2005); Mediterranean (2005-2008); Dong Fang Ocean (2008-2011); Oriental Nicety (2011-2012); Oriental N. (2012-)
Flag: Sierra Leone
Destination yard: India (broken in Alang)
A groundbreaking court ruling
Launched in 1986, the Exxon Valdez’s early years were dedicated to carrying oil from Alaska to the southern United States. In March 1989 the ship hit a reef off the Alaskan coast. Approximately 34,000 tonnes of oil were leaked into the Pacific Ocean, one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history. Exxon Mobil, the parent company of the oil tanker, entered a court battle with U.S. citizens affected by the pollution and with environmental NGOs.
In 2005, the European Union banned all single-hulled oil tankers from entering European ports. The Exxon Valdez was amongst those ships. The EU’s decision was made in light of the oil disasters caused by the Prestige and the Erika.
In 2008, Exxon Mobil eventually sold the Exxon Valdez (then known as the Mediterranean) to a Hong Kong-based shipping company, which converted her to an ore carrier.
In March 2012, shipbroking company GMS purchased the ship, signalling the Exxon Valdez was entering its end-of-life phase.
On 3 May 2012, the Indian Supreme Court directed the Indian authorities to prove that all steps were being taken to ensure the Exxon Valdez was decontaminated of hazardous waste before it was allowed to enter Indian waters.
On 30 June 2012, representatives from Indian authorities (including the Gujarat Maritime Board, the Ministry of Forest and Environment, and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board) boarded the ship for inspection. The same day, they concluded the ship was HazMat-free.
On 6 July 2012, the Supreme Court issued a judgment saying that the shipbreaking operations in India could not continue if they did not take into account the law governing waste management and protection of workers.
On 30 July 2012, the Supreme Court allowed the ship to enter Indian waters for dismantling, while precising that all future ships coming from OECD countries should be pre-claned of their hazardous waste, in accordance with the Basel Convention.
On 2 August 2012, the former Exxon Valdez was anchored in Alang and was soon after sent for breaking.
For more information:
>> Our joint press release with LIFE and BAN calling on India to refuse the Exxon Valdez (March 2012)
>> The Indian Supreme Court’s 30 July 2012 judgment
>> Our joint press release with BAN on the Supreme Court judgment (August 2012)
See press coverage