On March 16, Global Marketing Systems Inc., a Maryland-based company that buys ships for scrap, reported it had purchased the Oriental Nicety for about $16 million. The news was first reported by shipping trade publication TradeWinds.
Twenty-three years ago, the Oriental Nicety was a three-year-old ship named the Exxon Valdez. On March 24, 1989, it ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, spilling more than 11 million gallons of oil in the worst American oil spill until the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010.
Oil coated Kodiak beaches and led to decades of litigation as residents fought oil giant Exxon to receive compensation for damaged fisheries and interrupted lives.
While those battles played out in court, the Exxon Valdez itself was sold several times and repeatedly changed names.
Immediately after the accident, the ship was towed to San Diego, repaired, renamed the Exxon Mediterranean and put to work shipping oil in European, Middle Eastern and Asian waters. When Exxon shifted its shipping branch to a subsidiary, the ship became the SeaRiver Mediterranean.
In 2007, the ship was sold to Hong Kong Bloom Shipping for $32 million and converted into an ore carrier. It became the Dong Fang Ocean, and in November 2010 collided with a Malta-flagged cargo ship in the South China Sea.
Towed to China, the ship was renamed to Oriental Nicety and sold to an Indian scrap yard.
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