Exxon Valdez Heads To Scrap Heap

The Exxon Valdez appears headed for a scrap heap. In the 23 years since it spewed oil across Alaska's Prince William Sound, the tanker has changed names, owners and purpose. Melissa Block and Robert Siegel look back at what the infamous ship has been up to since the 1989 environmental disaster.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now, a ship that will live in infamy and soon, it will live in a scrap yard. This oil tanker became a household name on March 24, 1989.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED AUDIO)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The tanker, Exxon Valdez, remains beached on a reef some 25 miles from the Trans-Alaska Pipeline terminal. The coast guard says 20,000 gallons of fuel is leaking every hour and the oil slick has spread more than...

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

That was the report on NPR 23 years ago. The ship is no longer an oil tanker, nor is it the Exxon Valdez.

BLOCK: After the disastrous oil spill, it was repaired in San Diego, then it set sail again under the name, Exxon Mediterranean.

SIEGEL: Eventually, as new owners took over, the name continued to evolve.

BLOCK: The Sea River Mediterranean.

SIEGEL: The Dong Fang Ocean, a converted cargo ship.

BLOCK: And, these days, it's called - get this - the Oriental Nicety. And that will be the ship's final name now that the Oriental Nicety has been sold for scrap.

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