Business, Economics and Jobs

India bans Exxon Valdez ship from entering country


A driver fuels her SUV at an Exxon Mobil gas station in Chicago on July 29, 2010.


John Gress

India's Supreme Court has banned the Exxon Valdez ship from entering India, the Associated Press reported. The ship is famous for a massive spill in 1989, in which it leaked more than 11 million gallons of oil into the sea off Alaska. 

The ship, now known as the "Oriental Nicety," is 26 years old and still in use, but not for much longer. It was headed for the ship breaking yards in the state of Gujarat, BBC News reported. But because of the court's decision, the ship will not be allowed to be dismantled in India until it is decontaminated.

Old ships are often contaminated with carcinogens and even radioactive material. As a result, ship breakers risk a number of health problems through exposure to toxic substances, Reuters reported in 2009.

Nonetheless, the ship breaking company in Gujarat plans to fight the court's order. "We are studying the order, and will appeal," a partner in the company told the AP. In its decision, the court cited the Basel Convention, an international treaty that aims to reduce the environmental hazards of disposing waste.