On March 24, 1989, an oil tanker called the Exxon Valdez accidentally crashed into a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The tanker carried about 208 million liters (55 million of gallons) of oil. When it crashed, the Exxon Valdez spilled about 42 million liters (11 million gallons) into Prince William Sound.

This spill was one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. The remote location of Prince William Sound meant that emergency workers and equipment took a long time to arrive. The spill affected salmon, sea otters, seals, and birds. Exxon was fined $507.5 million in punitive damages.

emergency
Noun

sudden, unplanned event that requires immediate action.

equipment
Noun

tools and materials to perform a task or function.

oil
Noun

fossil fuel formed from the remains of marine plants and animals. Also known as petroleum or crude oil.

oil tanker
Noun

large ship used for transporting petroleum.

Noun

a ridge of rocks, coral, or sand rising from the ocean floor all the way to or near the ocean's surface.

remote
Adjective

distant or far away.

sound
Noun

body of water, larger than a bay, partially surrounded by land.