On This Day, March 24, 1989 – The Exxon Valdez Runs Aground
1989 – The Exxon Valdez spilled 240,000 barrels (11 million gallons) of oil in Alaska’s Prince William Sound after it ran aground.
On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez, en route from Valdez, Alaska to Los Angeles, California, ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The vessel was traveling outside normal shipping lanes in an attempt to avoid ice. Within six hours of the grounding, the Exxon Valdez spilled approximately 10.9 million gallons of its 53 million gallon cargo of Prudhoe Bay crude oil. Eight of the eleven tanks on board were damaged. The oil would eventually impact over 1,100 miles of non-continuous coastline in Alaska, making the Exxon Valdez the largest oil spill to date in U.S. waters.
The response to the Exxon Valdez involved more personnel and equipment over a longer period of time than did any other spill in U.S. history. Logistical problems in providing fuel, meals, berthing, response equipment, waste management and other resources were one of the largest challenges to response management. At the height of the response, more than 11,000 personnel, 1,400 vessels and 85 aircraft were involved in the cleanup.
Shoreline cleanup began in April of 1989 and continued until September of 1989 for the first year of the response. The response effort continued in 1990 and 1991 with cleanup in the summer months, and limited shoreline monitoring in the winter months. Fate and effects monitoring by state and Federal agencies are ongoing.
The images that the world saw on television and descriptions they heard on the radio that spring were of heavily oiled shorelines, dead and dying wildlife, and thousands of workers mobilized to clean beaches. These images reflected what many people felt was a severe environmental insult to a relatively pristine, ecologically important area that was home to many species of wildlife endangered elsewhere. In the weeks and months that followed, the oil spread over a wide area in Prince William Sound and beyond, resulting in an unprecedented response and cleanup.
1720 – In Paris, banking houses closed due to financial crisis.
1765 – Britain passed the Quartering Act that required the American colonies to house 10,000 British troops in public and private buildings.
1832 – Mormon Joseph Smith was beaten, tarred and feathered in Ohio.
1837 – Canada gave blacks the right to vote
1882 – In Berlin, German scientist Robert Koch announced the discovery of the tuberculosis germ (bacillus).
1883 – The first telephone call between New York and Chicago took place.
1900 – Mayor Van Wyck of New York broke the ground for the New York subway tunnel that would link Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1900 – In New Jersey, the Carnegie Steel Corporation was formed.
1904 – Vice Adm. Tojo sank seven Russian ships as the Japanese strengthened their blockade of Port Arthur.
1920 – The first U.S. coast guard air station was established at Morehead City, NC.
1932 – Belle Baker hosted a radio variety show from a moving train. It was the first radio broadcast from a train.
1934 – President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill granting future independence to the Philippines.
1938 – The U.S. asked that all powers help refugees fleeing from the Nazis.
1947 – The U.S. Congress proposed the limitation of the presidency to two terms.
1955 – The first oil drill seagoing rig was put into service.
1960 – A U.S. appeals court ruled that the novel, “Lady Chatterly’s Lover“, was not obscene and could be sent through the mail.
1972 – Great Britain imposed direct rule over Northern Ireland.
1976 – The president of Argentina, Isabel Peron, was deposed by her country’s military.
1988 – Former national security aides Oliver L. North and John M. Poindexter and businessmen Richard V. Secord and Albert Hakim pled innocent to Iran-Contra charges.
1993 – In Israel, Ezer Weizman, an advocate of peace with neighboring Arab nations, was elected President.
1995 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a welfare reform package that made the most changes in social programs since the New Deal.
1998 – In Jonesboro, AR, two young boys open fire at students from woods near a school. Four students and a teacher were killed and 10 others were injured. The two boys were 11 and 13 years old cousins.
1998 – A former FBI agent said papers found in James Earl Ray’s car supports a conspiracy theory in the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
1999 – NATO launched air strikes against Yugoslavia (Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Vojvodina). The attacks marked the first time in its 50-year history that NATO attacked a sovereign country. The bombings were in response to Serbia’s refusal to sign a peace treaty with ethnic Albanians who were seeking independence for the province of Kosovo.
2001 – Apple Computer Inc’s operating system MAC OS X went on sale.
Source: On-This-Day.com; Earth.org