India bars Alaska oil spill tanker Exxon Valdez

Exxon Valdez (File photo taken in April 1989) Exxon Valdez spilled millions of gallons of oil into sea

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India's Supreme Court has barred the giant tanker Exxon Valdez, which was involved in one of the world's worst oil spills, from entering the country.

The ship, now known as the "Oriental Nicety", entered Indian waters last week, headed for the shipbreaking yards in the western state of Gujarat.

The court said it would not be allowed in until it had been decontaminated.

The Exxon Valdez caused devastation when it ran aground in Alaska in 1989, spilling 11m gallons of crude oil.

US officials say about 1,300 miles (2,080km) of ecologically sensitive coastline in Prince William Sound were contaminated in the disaster. Tens of thousands of seabirds, otters and seals were killed.

The Exxon Valdez was bought recently by the Hong Kong-based subsidiary of an Indian shipbreaking firm and was to be dismantled at Alang, the hub of India's shipbreaking industry.

"We will abide with the Supreme Court order. We are studying the order, and will appeal," said Harshadbhai Padia, a partner in the company, Associated Press reports.

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