This programme is not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Oil Spill - The Exxon Valdez Disaster

Just after midnight on Good Friday 1989, the giant supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound to create one of the biggest man-made ecological disasters of the 20th century.

Eleven million gallons of crude oil gushed from the stricken tanker into the pristine waters of the Sound, killing whales, millions of fish and birds, and thousands of sea otters. The spill had a catastrophic effect on local communities, wiping out their herring fishery and severely depleting the Alaskan salmon industry for years to come.

Twenty years on, this programme retraces the catalogue of errors that led to the disaster and investigates the legacy of the spill and the lasting environmental damage to Prince Wiliam Sound, featuring interviews with crew members aboard the supertanker on the fateful night, with the Exxon executives and Alaskan politicians in the eye of the storm and with the local fishermen and activists who had prophetically warned of disaster and now lead the fight for justice.

1 hour

Last on

Thu 26 Mar 2009 21:00
BBC Two except Yorkshire