23 years after one of history's worst oil spills, Exxon Valdez 'rests' in Gujarat
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The ship responsible for one of history's worst environment disasters -- the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska – rumbled on to the tide-flooded Alang ship recycling yard in Gujarat at exactly 4 pm on Thursday, never to sail again.
Neatly positioned behind two, orange-coloured chemical tankers a third each of it's size, the vessel dropped anchor five minutes later and cut it's engine within another five.
As the high tide dropped back sometime afterwards, it's 15-member crew walked ashore after three days short of four months since they boarded the vessel on it's uncertain last voyage.
The ill-fated vessel, however, almost maintained it's luck till the end.
Originally scheduled to beach on Wednesday afternoon, it was postponed because the ship's anchor got stuck in the mud just two nautical miles offshore, where it was stationed the previous evening.
The 228 m long, 34,399 ton (without cargo) ship was reserved a spot between the 10,000 ton chemical-tankers that had already been cut open, a common sight at Asia's largest graveyard for vessels, but could not occupy it as scheduled.
A shore pilot instructed Lobo Menville, to maintain the anchorage position for a second try 24 hours later and pick up it's anchor at 11.30 am Thursday, readying itself to beach.
Anchor was lifted at 9 am on Thursday, however, and by 11 am, strong currents in the Gulf of Khambat had taken the vessel six nautical miles north - thus began four gruelling hours of navigation towards the plot once more.
By noon, though, the mood was upbeat - second captain Samir Basul, who boarded with the crew on April 4 and meanwhile missed his infant daughter's birthday, wrote on his facebook status: "Weather superfine; anchor's up and v r drifting in area, high tide at 4 pm, shall be home tomorrow. Thanks everybody."
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