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San Diego-Built Exxon Valdez Is Being Dismantled

Aired 8/15/12 on KPBS News.

The infamous Exxon Valdez was built in San Diego. Now it's being dismantled on the coast of India.

— The Exxon Valdez took to the seas 26 years ago after being built in San Diego's NASSCO shipyards. But now it's being torn up and sold for scrap, ending a history that will always be linked to the huge oil spill off the coast of Alaska.

The Exxon Valdez three days after the vessel grounded, just before a storm arrived.
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Above: The Exxon Valdez three days after the vessel grounded, just before a storm arrived.

The Exxon Valdez ended its sea-faring life under the name the "Oriental Nicety." It was carrying ore in Asia waters when its owners finally decided to scrap it.

Nature Magazine reports an Indian court last month approved a plan to break it up on the beach at Alang, the world's largest ship-breaking yard.

The Valdez was built by NASSCO in 1986. It was used by Exxon to carry Alaskan Oil to refineries in California.

But then came that fateful day in March of 1989, when its hull was torn on a reef and it spilled at least 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. The Valdez was met by a flotilla of protesters, in San Diego bay, when it was later towed back to NASSCO to be repaired.

The ship was later banned from carrying oil in the U.S. by new laws that required tankers to be double-hulled. A spokesman at NASSCO said he had no comment about the Valdez being laid to rest.

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