Investigating The Exxon Valdez Disaster Engineering Essay

Investigating The Exxon Valdez Disaster Engineering Essay

On March 24, 1989, a oiler named Exxon Valdez transporting with about 53 million gallons of petroleum oil, departed from Valdez, Alaska to Los Angeles, California. The vas was non taking its normal path but re-routed in effort to avoid running on iceberg. However, the vas ran aground after midnight, striking the Bligh Reef which is merely 25 stat mis off from Port of Valdez ( [ 1 ] , [ 2 ] ) .

In this accident, eight of 11 armored combat vehicles on board were damaged, doing a escape of about 11 million gallons of rough oil onto the Gulf of Alaska. There was an immediate exigency response after this incident for clean up. In April of 1989, shoreline killing began and this attempt continued until September 1989. On the summer month of 1990 and 1991 response squad continue with their killing job ( [ 2 ] ) .

There are five possible causes for the calamity incident. 1 ) The 3rd mate failed to steer decently the vas is due to excessive of work load. 2 ) The maestro failed to give proper direction likely due to over consumption of intoxicant. 3 ) Exxon Shipping Company failed to oversee the maestro and supply sufficient crew for the vas. 4 ) Failure of U.S Coast Guard to supply an effectual traffic system for the vas. 5 ) Lacked of good trained pilot ( [ 1 ] ) .


One of the aims of this research is to analyze the purpose and aim of Exxon Mobil Corporation, in order to cognize what they want to accomplish in short-and-long term. The purpose of the corporation could be the cause in taking the oil spill catastrophe if they are to chiefly concentrating on the concern growing but has neglect the human right and their function into preserve the environment.

This study will detect the oil and refinery industrial procedures and operation and cover the country of evaluate the hazards in all countries that lead to the oil spill catastrophe and pollution. An oil spill catastrophe could easy do a large graduated table pollution that would impact marine life and human existences.

Critically place the effect of all the jeopardies of the oil spill catastrophe will be another aim in making this study. As mentioned earlier, oil spill catastrophe normally brings large graduated table pollution to sea. Last, looking into ways of forestalling the oil spill catastrophe from go oning once more would be another aim of this study. Besides of betterment in machines, a corporation ‘s direction system would be another facet that has to be look into earnestly in order to forestall catastrophe from go oning once more.

Aim and Aims

The Exxon Mobil Corporation aims for the contract of working in Iraq ‘s biggest oilfield. Iraq, the universe 3rd largest oil-reserve, needs investors from outside to convey up its ain oil sector after old ages of wars. Iraq has opens up a command of six elephantine oilfields, which together holds more than one tierce of its militias.

Exxon Mobil Corporation holds 4 aims in order to accomplish better consequence in their operating system and in fiscal facet. The first aim is stockholder. Exxon Mobil Corporation has high committedness in elating the long-run value of the investing given to them by the stockholder. In order to hold high returns, the direction has to guarantee that they are able to run their concern good and do it more productively [ 5 ] .

Second, it is client. Exxon Mobil Corporation is able to fulfill assorted types of clients ‘ demands to hold different types of merchandises and services and the monetary value for their merchandises and services has to be compatible with other companies. The ability to fulfill clients ‘ demands is the key to success as the directions of Exxon Mobil Corporation are good cognizant of it.

In order to supply best merchandises and services, Exxon Mobil Corporation ‘s following aim is employees. They have a clear thought of employ the most qualified people available and construct out their strength to win through preparation and development [ 5 ] . Besides, the corporation besides strive to keep a safe working environment and all employees are treated reasonably in footings of work load is one of the aim that the corporation is keeping.

The last aim for the corporation is communities. The corporation has their last nonsubjective to clear up that they will non go against the Torahs and local civilization while operation the concern world-widely. The corporation has the aim that is to run their concern with safe and environmentally responsible operation [ 5 ] .

Oil and refinery industrial procedures and operations

As we all know, the rough oil demands to undergo several operations in order to go utile merchandises for our day-to-day life. Here is some general operations that been used to divide different types of merchandises from heaviest to lightest, to transform or modify the natural proportions to each type of merchandises, and to free the unwanted compound of certain merchandises [ 6 ] .

2.1 Exxon Mobil Corporation oil refinery procedure and operations

The three major refinery processes that Exxon Mobil Corporation used are separation, transition and purification.

As mentioned earlier, the separation method is to divide different types of merchandises from heaviest to lightest, by using heat through a procedure called distillment. Crude oil is feed to a distillment tower from the underside, heated up to 750 grade Fahrenheit. Components that have gone through the heat up procedure and yet still in liquid signifier go the tower ‘s underside merchandises, while vaporised constituents of the petroleum oil rise to the top of the distillment tower, hence go through different types of distillment procedures. As the vapor rises the temperature drops, so the constituents condense at the top of the tower. However, these merchandises coming out from distillment tower are considered unfinished and yet have to undergo some other procedures to go utile merchandises [ 7 ] .

The 2nd major procedure is transition. The rough oil foremost separated from the distillment procedure into many different classs of constituents. Because the proportion of the rough oil does non be of course as the clients ‘ demand, so the primary intent of transition is to change over low valued heavy oil into high valued gasolene. The molecule bond of the petroleum oil is called hydrocarbon. The longer the C concatenation, the heavier the merchandises to be. Fluidized Catalytic Crackers ( FCCs ) is a map which is used to breakdown the C bond. If we want to set back the C concatenation, Catalytic Reformer and Alkylation plays the function [ 7 ] .

A type of accelerator is used to change over gas oil into a mix of Liquefied Petroleum Gas ( LPG ) . The accelerator speeds up the reaction to interrupt the C concatenation to bring forth more gasolene. However the whole procedure needs so much heat, that the FCC reactor operates at 1000 grades Fahrenheit [ 7 ] . A Delayed Cooker is used to change over the heaviest and contained most contaminations metal in refinery procedure, called resid, into a more valuable merchandise such as crude oil coke. The last transition procedure is called Catalytic Reforming. The intent of the reformist is to increase the octane figure of gasoline blend constituents and to bring forth H for usage in the refinery hydrotreaters [ 7 ] .

When the petroleum oil has gone through separation and transition, the merchandises has to travel through the last phase of refinery procedure, Purification. This procedure is to take sulfur, which is a bad substance, to make a higher value of merchandises. Hydrotreating is a method, where merchandises are contacted with H under high force per unit area and heat with presence of accelerator, to rush up the procedure of desulphurized. There is another method of desulphurisation which is called extraction. The importance of desulphurisation is to make a merchandise that meets the quality specification and environmental criterions [ 7 ] .

Hazard that lead to oil spill catastrophe and pollution

An probe had been held up by the National Transportation Safety Board after the oil spill catastrophe happened. Harmonizing to the probe, few possible causes could hold lead to the occurrence of this catastrophe. First of wholly, Third Mate Gregory Cousins. He was in charge of the pilothouse after the vas shipped out of the normal transportation lane to avoid iceberg. Gregory Cousins was supposed to maneuver the vas decently back to the transportation lane but he failed to make so [ 8 ] .

Another determination of why Cousins failed to maneuver the vas decently and ran aground onto Bligh reef, possible due to tire and inordinate work load. Back to twelvemonth 1977, at that clip the crew member was twice every bit much as the crew member in 1989. Crew members have to work 12 to fourteen hours displacements, plus overtime [ 9 ] . Due to the ground above, Coast Guard oiler review were non done decently due to miss of workers.

The 2nd cause that could take to oil spill catastrophe was that the vas did non hold a radio detection and ranging system. Exxon Transporting Company did non mend a malfunctioned Raycas radio detection and ranging system, which could hold alarmed the Third Mate about the at hand hit with Bligh reef. Harmonizing to an fact-finding newsman, Greg Palast, that direction knew that there was a malfunctioned radio detection and ranging system on the vas and yet left broken for more than a twelvemonth before the catastrophe. Exxon ‘s direction neglected the importance of holding a Raycas radio detection and ranging system on board, and in their point of position, mending the radio detection and ranging system was merely excessively expensive to make so.

However, the probe besides shows that before the catastrophe happens, the shipmaster Joseph Jeffery Hazelwood did non supply a proper pilotage, most perchance is because he had taken intoxicant. Exxon Transporting Company was unable to oversee the shipmaster of the vas and supply rested and sufficient crew on Valdez.

When oiler left the Trans Alaska Pipeline in Valdez, it was guided by a pilot named William Murphy through the Valdez Narrows. Murphy left Exxon Valdez after the oiler cleared out from Valdez Narrow. Exxon Valdez was handled by Helmsman Harry Claar by the clip they encountered iceberg in their transportation lane. Shipmaster ordered Helmsman to transport out from the transportation lanes to avoid clashing with iceberg. This shows that the U.S Coast Guard did non supply an effectual traffic system for the vas and lacked of effectual pilot and bodyguard services [ 8 ] , [ 9 ] . Another possible cause lead to oil spill catastrophe is that most oil shipped from Valdez is carried by aging oilers [ 10 ] .

Identify the effects of all the jeopardies of oil spill catastrophe

The oil spill catastrophe leaves a major impact on marine life. The oil spill catastrophe was on March 24, 1989, when it is the clip for migratory birds flew over to put eggs. It was besides the clip when Marine micro-organism start to bloom, peak period for sea otters, seals, and sea king of beastss, and when marine mammals concentrate in coastal Waterss to banquet. Valdez oil spill affected country was non the largest recorded in human history, but the negative impact it brought was the worst than any other oil spill.

A batch of sea birds died in this catastrophe, so as micro-organisms. Microorganisms are the foundation of marine life nutrient concatenation. The toxic oil pollution kills micro-organism that indirectly affect the upper degree Marine animals in nutrient concatenation. Fishes ‘ egg and larva mortality and physical malformations are the after consequence of catastrophe. Fishing industry in Alaska was profoundly affected due to oil spill catastrophe and the Alaskans were forced to trust on other different resources [ 10 ] .

Oil spill catastrophe besides caused worlds ‘ wellness at interest. Cleanup workers have to confront the oil mist averagely 12 times more than regulative bounds, and 400 times higher when executing hot H2O beach lavation. Harmonizing to National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, 1,811 workers claimed compensation for respiratory system harm. Besides of physical harm, workers besides faced psychological impact such as depression [ 10 ] .

When oil waste reaches the seashore, it sticks on the stones and littorals, which destroy the home grounds for some sea life animals. This would besides do eroding and taint. The toxicant oil could easy killed freshly born coastal wildlife that finally affect the life rhythm and doing differentiation some Marine animals [ 11 ] .

The oil residue on the shore will impact the conditions, seasonal and climate status after some times. The oil can vaporize and emulsify easy. The oil can be really relentless when it coalesces into tar-like substance that is really hard for cleansing and taking [ 11 ] .

And besides, the oil that was spilled out into the ocean is a immense loss for human being. As the petroleum oil is a really utile component for about everything we used in day-to-day, an oil spill catastrophe could merely intend that the sum of rough oil spilled during the catastrophe can non be used to treat for utile merchandises any longer [ 11 ] .

Improvement and alterations in the direction system to forestall the catastrophe from go oning.

Exxon Shipping Company should get down with replacing all the single-hull with double-hull oiler. The double-hull oilers are merely 10 % of the oilers, 3 out of 26 oilers are double-hull and are out-dated [ 10 ] . Oil tanker should be changed after used for 21 old ages but Exxon go oning utilizing them.

The multi-national company should stress more on their employees ‘ rights, as stated in their corporation ‘s aim. Reducing crew member hence addition the work load of the vas crew members and they are non plenty rested.

The corporation should besides be looking into the importance of radio detection and ranging system more earnestly. Ignorance from the direction that they did non wish to mend the radio detection and ranging system has caused the occurrence of calamity. Vessel should ever be updated with new radio detection and ranging system as a safety safeguard.

All the oiler should be added with oiler trailing and warning systems, which will be aided by planetary placement system [ 12 ] . With the tracking system on it, man-on-ground could hold track down all motion by the vas and giving immediate response if any incident happens.

Besides that, they should hold higher liability to the proprietor that caused oil spill. The OPA ( Ocean Pollution Act ) 90 says that every ton they spill the oil, the proprietor have to pay $ 1,200 of liability. In order to do proprietor expression into this more earnestly, higher liability charge should be implemented to avoid oil spill catastrophe [ 13 ] .


Oil spill catastrophe can be prevented if more safety safeguards are done. From betterment of double-hull oiler, vas aided with tracking systems, and non to overload employees with work, all these betterment will extinguish the opportunity of the occurrence of oil spill catastrophe once more. Besides, the direction should hold created an Emergency Response Unit that has authorization to do an immediate determination for one time any exigencies occur. Last but non least, happening the new alternate energy that could replace the use of crude oil is the best manner to halt oil spill catastrophe one time and for all. No more boring for rough oil, no more shipping rough oil.