Exxon Valdez Accident

Paper Type: 
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1375 Words
Date:  2021-03-11

The occurrence of the accident in open navigable waters instigated the response of the local authority, almost immediately. The US coast guards on scene assumed the role of carrying out the temporary clean-ups immediately after the spillage. The most significant effort by the coastal guard unit was the closure of the pathways to inhibit the confusion of other vessels. USCG investigators later combined forces with the coast guards to determine the extent of the damage. After 24 hours, the Alaska Regional response team was brought together through a teleconference to tabulate on way that could be explored to respond effectively to the damage. It was after the teleconference meeting that the National Response Team was activated to assist the local units in containing the damage. It took about 38 hours after the spillage that the regional and national response teams coordinated enough personnel to the spillage (Streissguth 2003, p. 38). The following diagram shows just how poor response from the government and Exxon subsequently led to more oil deposits in water for naturally engineered process of biodegradation; a process that simply emits the largest amounts of carbon dioxide in the air. The response by the government and other recovery units merely contributed to less than 30% of restoration indices (Wiens 2013, p. 109).

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Management of the Spillage

One of the most devastating aspects of management to the spillage was the reaction of Exxon. It took two weeks for Exxon to send a response team to the location of the spillage. The organization merely ran advertisements on newspapers for ten days to inform the public of the accident. Exxons chairman flew to the site of the accident two weeks later. The arrival of the chairman was coupled with an arrival of poorly trained personnel who were supposed to assist in the restoring the situation. Critically, Exxon was prepared to deal with the disasters that their operations could potentially cause.

Thus, just like the response, management of the Exxon Valdez spillage was typically below the desired standards. The management teams, led by regional and national response teams, put focus on the most effective and time efficient avenues through which they would get rid of the spillage. The plan was to start with the friendliest mechanical avenues to some of the environmentally unfriendly avenues such as burning to get rid of the spillage (Keeble 1999, p. 109). However, coordination was poor that mechanical cleanups, burning and application of chemical dispersants were applied almost simultaneously.

Predictably, lack of leadership rendered the rescue and response project irrelevant. It is notable that management, in such crises, provides leadership on the categorical steps to be taken in handling the situation, which was not the case in the spillage as all the responsible factions operated individually with an allusion of achieving similar aims in the shortest periods possible. Moreover, critical aspects of managing crises such as communication were not effectively explored. An instance was when Exxon chose to communicate with the people of Valdez Exclusively thereby putting out the rest of the world in darkness to the occurrences at the accident scene. In other occasions, stakeholders to the accident, such as Exxon, played at the periphery when their response was highly needed.

Compensation of the Affected

Exxon Valdez accident is a very chilling reminder of how the government needs to do an oversight on operations of organizations; especially in corporate accountability avenues. Since the occurrence of the accident, Exxon has been broiled in endless court battles. Most of the battles are critically based on the compensation to those people who suffered massive losses from the spillage. Small businesses and fishermen lost a lot of money from the effects of the spillage. Today, most people who were directly affected with the spillage died.

Surprisingly, Exxon made even more profits after the spillage. In 1989, the organization made a profit of $3.8 billion. The following year saw their profits escalate to $5 billion (Keeble 1999, p. 109). After calculating all the expenses incurred in cleaning up the damage from the accident, Exxon still were capable of paying the $5 billion fine that would compensate for the damages in the subsequent financial years. The might of the organization however pushed them into endless battles until 2008. According to Wiens (2013, p. 112), in 2008, Exxon was cleared by the Supreme Court to pay only $507.5 million to the people who were directly affected by the accident. This happens after more than 20 years of court battles. So far, Exxon is reported to have paid $383 million to the desired recipients. The litigation phases in the case keep mutating as most people have died and thus unable to continue with court process.


A lot of lessons could be learnt from the Exxon Valdez accident. First, most organizations, Exxon in this case, are not prepared enough to take care of the environment. Right from the response that Exxon gave to the accident, the manner in which they managed the accident to the manner in which the victims were compensated, Exxon proved to be very insensitive to the environment that surrounds their operations. Secondly, the accident unearthed massive lack of preparedness to crises (Landau 2011, p. 71). Not a single organization or response unit was capable of responding to the spillage immediately. Finally, mismanagement of crises could lead to mutation of crises into more dangerous levels. If handled at the primary levels, Exxon accident could not be capable of causing the damage that it eventually reaped.

BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

On 20th April, 2010, operations at Deepwater Horizon were hampered by a gas explosion. That gas leakage at the Macondo exploration well (a BP subsidiary) in the Gulf of Mexico led to an explosion whose damages surpass all the records that similar accidents ever posted in history. The magnitude of the damages of this explosion predictably attracted massive opinions from across the globe.


BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill attracted very poor response from the stakeholders. This is based on the fact that the occurrences of this accident were in phases and chronological. Integrity failures, loss of hydrostatic controls, lack of control from the Blowout Preventer, ignition of the hydrocarbons and failure of BOP emergency options all contributed to the escalation of the impacts of BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It took the federal governments input to assist in giving direction and material input to mitigate further damages. Initial response platform entailed removal and dispersion of the oil from the primary spill points. Auxiliary responses to the accident entailed implementation of strategies through which the shoreline could be kept out of the damage. Notably, the response to BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill was untimely and unhelpful. The following presentation details the occurrences at BPs Gulf spillage (Freudenburg & Gramling 2011, p. 87):

From the above diagram, it is evident that the quantity of oils that is not taken care of constitutes a big percentage (26%). Normally, the residual keep environmental pollution at its highest points as not even one individual cares about these deposits. The responses, on the other hand, assist in the damage marginally by 16%. Definitely, more input should be put in dealing with oil spillages.

The Management

BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill received preferably a better management than most accidents of similar nature. The parent organization was consistent in their corporation with other response units in bringing down the spread of the damage. Part of the management that, visibly, was not well covered was attachment to the general public. BP moved in to protect their image through the media, so much that they lied to the public in some instances (Farrell 2011, p. 207). A significant incident was when the BP team revealed the quantity of the original leakages to be 1000 barrels when experts had clear evidence that the leakages were approximately 500 barrels.

Compensation of the Victims

BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill affected numerous people, businesses and the environment. Subsequently, BP has had a long battle with the Department of Justice since the occurrence of the accident. The government and the public both hang on the need for BP to pay for the damages. As at now, the Federal court reached a decision of $18.7 billion in compensation. These compensation costs make BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill the most costly oil spillage accident in history. The penalties have chiefly been based on Clean Water act penalties that are known to be very critical in penalizing orga...

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Exxon Valdez Accident. (2021, Mar 11). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/exxon-valdez-accident

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