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When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, it spilled over 11 million gallons (41.8 million liters) of crude oil, the largest single spill ever released in U.S. coastal waters. The spill occurred late in the evening of March 24, 1989. The ship left Port Valdez, Alaska, under the command of Captain Joseph Hazelwood. After leaving port, the captain left the bridge in charge of a third mate who was not licensed to operate in that particular area of Prince William Sound. The ship, having turned into the inbound shipping lanes to avoid ice from nearby glaciers, was supposed to return to the outbound lanes. For several reasons, including missing navigational markers and failing to disengage the ship's autopilot—the ship turned too ...

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