Exxon, Inc. oil tanker responsible for the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, the worst oil spill in US history. Since the construction of the Alyeska pipeline in the 1970s, the Exxon Valdez had been one of the oil tankers engaged in the regular transportation of crude oil between Valdez, AK and oil refineries located elsewhere. However, despite assurances to the contrary, Exxon's oil tankers and Valdez facilities were totally unprepared to deal with an event such as an oil spill.
This became obvious on the night of March 24, 1989 when Exxon Valdez captain Joseph Hazelwood (apparently after a certain amount of bottle-tipping) managed to run the tanker aground on Bligh Reef, a charted obstacle two miles away from the standard course used by outbound Valdez tankers. Hazelwood then tried to wiggle the tanker off the reef; had he succeeded, the Exxon Valdez most likely would have capsized. More than twenty minutes after running the ship aground, Hazelwood finally radioed the US Coast Guard to report that he was grounded and leaking oil.
About 100 million gallons of North Slope crude oil ultimately leaked from the Exxon Valdez, but the oil slick created nonetheless spread slowly and analysts said it should have been very easy to contain. But because of Exxon's inability to resopond, the slick spread across hundreds of square miles, completely covering Prince William Sound and reaching as far as the Alaska Penninsula, devastating salmon stocks and seriously crippling the area's fishery-dependent economy for a number of years.
To this day (almost 15 years later), Exxon Mobil, Inc. has stubbornly appealed all damages the US judicial system has ordered the corporation to pay to the fisherman of South-Central Alaska. These individuals, many of whom had their lifestyles decimated by the spill, have yet to recieve a single dime in compensation.