Joseph Hazelwood – 1946–
On March 24, 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground 25 miles south of Valdez, Alaska, spilling 240,000 barrels of crude oil into the pristine waters of Prince William Sound. It remains the worst environmental disaster in American history. The skipper, Joseph Hazelwood of Huntington, New York, was charged with (among other things) operating a vessel while intoxicated and was found guilty of negligent discharge of oil. His conviction was overturned on appeal based on a statute that granted immunity to those reporting oil spills to the authorities. The oil spill covered some 2,600 square miles of Alaska wilderness and killed untold thousands of birds and marine animals.