The Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 was a pivotal point in oil spill response history. It changed the way Canadian and American authorities thought, prompting government and industry to dramatically improve their oil spill response regimes. Though the spill was in American waters, Burrard Clean Operations participated in the response.
The spill occurred on March 24, when the oil tanker struck Prince William Sounds’ Bligh Reef, spilling 40.9 million litres of crude oil. Together with response organization in Seattle, Burrard Clean chartered a barge, loaded it with equipment and sent it north to the site of the spill. Burrard Clean recruited skippers and crew from BC Ferries and the tug and barge industry in Vancouver, and made plans that would satisfy the operating requirements for an extended period. Burrard Clean’s operating crew rotated in and out of the spill scene for several months, along with hundreds of other responders.