On this day March 24, 1989

The tanker Exxon Valdez spilled more than 10 million U.S. gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska, causing one of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters at sea.

As significant as the Exxon Valdez spill was, it ranks well down on the list of the world’s largest oil spills in terms of volume released.

However, Prince William Sound’s remote location (accessible only by helicopter and boat) made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response.

The region was a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals, and seabirds. The vessel spilled 10.8 million U.S. gallons (about 40 million litres) of Prudhoe Bay crude oil into the sea, and the oil eventually covered 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) of ocean.

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