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On 23rd March 1989 the oil tanker Exxon Valdez left normal shipping lanes and smashed into the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Within hours, the once mighty vessel had spilled over ten million gallons of oil into the icy waters: the largest oil spill in ever recorded in US waters.Over the coming months, around eleven thousand square miles of open sea became contaminated. Local wildlife - many species of which were rare or endangered elsewhere - perished in vast quantities. News reports brought back footage of over 1,300 miles of shoreline turned black and scattered with dead or dying fish, birds, and seals.