The infamous oil tanker Exxon Valdez proved to be an environmental hazard one last time — as a carrier of asbestos and other toxic materials.
The now-defunct ship will be remembered for its massive oil spill in Alaska’s Prince Edward Sound in 1989. Last spring, renamed the Oriental Nicety, the tanker was purchased by an Indian wrecking and salvage company for $16 million. The tanker’s proposed scrapping on an India beach drew resistance from local environmentalists.
In particular, they worried about the amount of asbestos the Exxon Valdez carried, as do most other tankers and ships. They also feared about the ship’s other poisons, such as mercury and arsenic, as an article in the Los Angeles Times notes.
Nevertheless, after India’s high court gave permission, the ship was beached by the coast city of Alang and dismantled for scrap, as the German newspaper Spiegel notes.
For the Indian laborers scrapping the Exxon Valdez and others like it, the work is dangerous and dirty. Asbestos is almost always present on ships launched prior to the 1970s, when builders phased the material out. The U.S. Navy used asbestos extensively in bulkhead systems, insulation, ceiling tiles, fire-resistant sheets, boilers, electrical fixtures, steam pipes, and many other products.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another disease caused by asbestos, you may be entitled to financial compensation from a settlement. To learn more about your legal options, please Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.