Exxon Valdez the Oil Tanker Term Paper

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Subject: Transportation
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #76050958

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Cousins issued right rudder commands to result in the desired course change and took the ship off autopilot. While such efforts did not result in turning swiftly Cousins ordered further right rudder with increasing urgency. The bumpy ride and six very sharp jolts occurred at 12:04 AM. The vessel grounded towards southwest balanced across its middle on a pinnacle of Bligh Reef. Eight of the eleven oil tanks punctured flooding about 5.8 million gallons out of the tanker in the first three and quarter hours. The confessions at NTSB indicated that Cousins may have been awake and normally at work for up to 18 hours preceding the accident. There is the evidence of direct impact of fatigue on human performance error and recognized that about 80% or more of marine accidents are attributable to human error. (Details about the Accident)

The circumstantial factors like prolonged duty hours, poor working conditions, monotony and sleep deprivation can give rise to a scenario where a pilot and/or crew members may become the susceptible to the occurrence of an accident. Besides the personnel policies may also have influenced the crew fatigue. A comparative figure indicated by Arthur McKenzie of the Tanker Advisory Center in New York revealed that the tankers during 1950 required a crew of about 40 to 42 to deal with only 6.3 million gallons of oil while in Exxon Valdez could rely with a crew of 19 to transport 53 million gallons of oil. The U.S. Coast Guard sets the limits for minimum vessel manning however, without any agency wide standard for policy. While Exxon could protect their actions on economic policies the report indicates that severe criticism are leveled against them for manipulating overtime records to better justify reduced manning levels.

Larossi and Exxon could defend that the modern automated vessel technology allowed the reduced manning without any cost in terms of safety or functions. However, the literature indicated that automation cannot substitute humans in the systems instead it places the human in a different, more demanding role. Automation particularly declines the manual workload but enhances the mental workload. The NTSB and Courts finally concluded the work hours of the Cousins and the limitations of the crew personnel. The Oil Spill Commission of Alaska suggests that crew levels be set high sufficiently not only to allow safe operations during ordinary conditions in the Gulf of Alaska can be highly demanding but also to generate sufficient crew backups and rest periods that crisis situations can be dealt by a new and well supported personnel. (Details about the Accident)

The immediate response to deal with the spreading sea of oil was a challenge to the capabilities of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the reports revealed that it was unexpectedly slow and woefully insufficient. The global capabilities of Exxon Corp would mobilize huge quantities of equipment and personnel to attend to the spill but its efforts were not adequate during first few hours and days when containment and cleanup efforts are in full swing. The U.S. Coast Guard could indicate its prowess at ship salvage, safeguarding the crews and lightering operations, however, proved utterly incapable of oil spill containment and response. The state and federal authorities demonstrated differing levels of preparedness and command capability. The Waters of Prince William Sound and gradually about more than 1000 miles of beach in South Central Alaska would be fouled by 10.8 million gallons of crude oil. (Details about the Accident)

John Keeble narrated the story in 'Out of the Channel: the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound' particularly the concentrating on the way the Exxon dealt the public relations aspect of the disaster and a critique of the way Exxon handled the public relations dimension of the incident. The way Exxon Company dealt with the spill was regarded as more tragic. The major task of the Company at the time was to attempt cleaning operations in the area and generate goodwill among the residents of the area. It was strangled not only with physical cleanup but also attempted to have a spiritual cleanup. However, the inherent emotional damages could not be challenged effectively by Exxon. The individuals residing in the area felt the management of the spill by the company was quite inadequate. (Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound)

One individual could visualize that the basic problem was initiated with the failure of the Exxon to visualize the world. They are blamed to be dealt with the PR and not cleanup. The whole management system of the clean up process appeared ineffective, mismanaged, peril while rapidly the oil was spreading more shoreline, more fishing water and endangering more species. Millions of dollars have been spent in media advertising to create campaigns assuring people that Prince William Sound would be back to normal in no time. Exxon attempted to appear good to the public and spend large amount of money towards the problem but had actually no idea of attacking the way they would actually clean the entire affected area. Exxon applied its power and money to appear good instead of fixing the problem. (Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound)

The Exxon Valdez discarded 11 million gallons about 41.8 million liters of crude oil and made 2080 kms of coastline poisonous. The effects of such huge spreading of crude oil resulted in heavy mortality of wildlife in terms of the death of 250000 sea birds, about 3000 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, and 250 bald eagles and up to 22 killer whales. This led an Alaskan Department of Environment to regard the revival of the area was like attempting to park a Cadillac in a Volkswagen spot. The tourist industry has been feared a major setback in the area. (1989: Exxon Valdez creates oil slick disaster)

Even one and half decades of shocking Exxon Valdez oil spill that infused 11 million gallons of oil into a pristine wilderness area in Prince William Sound, Alaska, the efforts of ExxonMobil is still considered to be inadequate in bringing the true state of the site of the spill freeing it from the adverse effects of massive oil pollution. The recent study published in Science magazine, concluded that far from having recovered the Sound area persists to experience problems as a result of oil continuing from spill. The mortality in the aftermath of the oil spill spread over 500 miles of the coastline appeared very high specifically with sea otter, sea bird and harbor seal population. Oil is still found to be prevalent in the Sound and continues to be poisonous having long-term impact on fish, sea otters and sea ducks. (Exxon Valdez disaster: 15 years of lies)

The Greenpeace Campaigner Anita Goldsmith regarded the techniques of the ExxonMobil as the traditional case of deny, dupe and delay. It is denying the change of environment; it dupes public through campaigning into the impression that it is an environmentally and socially responsible corporation. The ExxonMobil has engaged persistently in funding the research to safeguard its argument and misinform the public. It funded the research activities in legal and academic journals that safeguard the company argument that juries are not competent to give verdicts in criminal charges against the damages. The Company advocated for taking more action to confirm the fact while the world is under the influence of changing weather, droughts, floods etc. (Exxon Valdez disaster: 15 years of lies)

After two years of the Exxon Valdez ran aground the Exxon paid the State and Federal governments about $1 billion to settle criminal and civil claims pending against the oil company. Out of this about $180 million of has been funded for scientific studies and research such as the Forest Service's recreational-use-study. The public in Sound realize that the Exxon is not telling the truth and the Sound is still dead. Representative Beth Kerttula in the State Legislature declared Money cannot buy back Prince William Sound, but it can help bring closure. (Sound use doubles since 89) The Oil Pollution Act framed in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill is operating internationally assures the safe operations of the tankers. Representative Sherwood Boehlert revealed that the nation spills less oil than it used to even though it uses more oil than it is used to.

This is considered to be a good effect of the major spill of 1989. The president of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. that operates the trans-Alaska oil pipeline over 800 miles and supervises the tanker traffic in Prince William Sound observes that the company presently functions as one of the safest oil transportation systems in the world. However, some inherent problems still…

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