It’s only been a quarter of a century since the United States passed it’s Oil Pollution Act. A year after the 1989 Exxon Valdez environmental disaster off the coast of Alaska, American politicians wrote a law requiring all new tankers need to have double hulls to prevent similar catastrophes.
But single hull tankers were still allowed to be used by oil companies. That has now changed as of January 1st. Now those tankers are at the end of their operational lives and can no longer carry oil as cargo in U.S. waters.
As it turns out, the deadline did not lead to a major change because most of the tankers calling on U.S. ports have had double hulls for years.
In some collisions involving these double-hull tankers, not a drop of oil was spilled.