Exxon Valdez tanker aka 'Oriental Nicety' heads for the scrap heap

The Exxon Valdez oil supertanker didn't go into retirement after it spilled million of gallons of crude into Alaska's Prince William Sound. It got a new name and moved. Now, it's headed for the scrap yard.

More than two decades ago, the infamous oil supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground and dumped millions of gallons of crude into Alaska's ecologically sensitive Prince William Sound. As the cleanup and litigation dragged on, the Exxon Valdez got a new job and more importantly, a new name. Actually, five different names.

These days, the Exxon Valdez goes by Oriental Nicety. And after a run as an ore hauler -- and one more collision-- she's headed for the scrap heap.

Maryland-based Global Marketing Systems Inc., the largest  cash buyer of ships for recycling, announced the vessel was purchased from Cosco for about $16 million, Trade Winds reported.

Most folks might have assumed Exxon Valdez met its demise soon after the 1989 spill. Instead, the three-year-old tanker was towed to San Diego, repaired and renamed the Exxon Mediterranean, according to American Bureau of Shipping records. The vessel, still owned at the time by oil giant Exxon, worked shipping lanes in Europe and Asia. It's name was changed again to SeaRiver Mediterranean after Exxon moved its fleet under its SeaRiver Maritime unit. The name was later shortened to Mediterranean.

Cosco purchased the vessel in 2007 for abour $32 million, converted it into an ore carrier, and renamed it Dong Fang Ocean, shipping records show. Its new life as an ore carrier has been short-lived. In 2010, the vessel was involved in a collision off the coast of China.

On an innovation note: The Exxon Valdez spill did lead to major changes within the industry. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 required the phase out of single-hulled ships. Now, all but 18 of the world's 560 operating supertankers are double-hulled, according to data compiled and reported by Bloomberg.

Photo: Flickr user Jim Brickett, CC 2.0

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com