Report: Exxon Valdez Captain, 75, Dies

Joseph J. Hazelwood, captain of the ill-fated tanker the Exxon Valdez, is dead, according to The Washington Post.

Hazelwood, a 1964 graduate of Huntington High School, was captain of the ship in March 1989 when it struck a reef outside the port of Valdez, Alaska, ultimately spewing  11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. He was not on the bridge when the accident occurred.

The Washington Post said his death occurred July 22, which said a relative had confirmed his death but wanted to remain anonymous.

The spill did extensive damage to wildlife habitats and water quality along 1,500 miles of coastline, and subjected Hazelwood to years public criticism and ridicule. He was fired by Exxon, but acquitted of charges of operating the ship while intoxicated. He was, according to The Post, convicted of negligently discharging oil.

Hazelwood, 75, insisted for years that the truth had not come out about the accident, which led to more stringent environmental rules and policies.

No further details were immediately available.

Leave a Reply