The Exxon Valdez Left Port

1425 Words6 Pages
Looking back on the night of March 24, 1989 when the Exxon Valdez left port, it seemed as though the ship had only lasted as long as it had by running on luck and hope. With the company trying to save money and the crew working on fumes, things were headed down a dark path. One of the wonderful things about being human is our ability to look back on events that have occurred and learn from them. Unfortunately for Exxon, it took a catastrophic accident like this one to show how operations could be improved and how to be better prepared for the unexpected. These events are broken down to shed light on what made the Exxon Valdez accident a mess from port departure to today. Upon leaving any port, large cargo and cruise ships are under control…show more content…
After giving this order, the Captain then handed over control of the ship to his Third Mate, Gregory Cousins. At this time, Cousins was told that upon reaching a certain point he was to have the ship reenter its previous, safer, shipping lane. Prior to reaching this point, Harry Claar was relieved of his duties by fellow Helmsman Robert Kagan, who would be in control of the ship until its ill-fated destiny. For reasons unknown to this day, the order was never followed and the ship never returned to its appropriate shipping lanes and at 12:04 a.m., less than 3 hours after leaving port the Exxon Valdez would run aground on Bligh Reef. As with any major event as soon as the Valdez incident occurred people began to search for an explanation and blame had to be placed on someone. Once the ship had hit ground a call was made to Valdez Vessel Traffic Center and information about the accident began to come to light. At the time of impact, Capt. Hazelwood was not in the wheelhouse overseeing what might be considered one of the more crucial points of any ships journey, navigating the ice filled narrows; he was instead in his bunk sleeping off a night of drinking. According to some sources, on the night of the incident Captain Hazelwood was seen in multiple bars drinking and may have had as many as 6 double shots of vodka at the bars. During questioning after the grounding Hazelwood said that he was not affected by the amount of alcohol he had
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