Exxon Valdez - Legacy of a Spill

Thursday
May 13, 1999

Legacy of a Spill: Stories | Illustrations | Photos


Where are they now?
The Captain: Joseph Hazelwood



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Joseph Hazelwood's career as a tanker captain ended when the Exxon Valdez fetched up hard aground on Bligh Reef.

Following his trial and misdemeanor conviction for negligent discharge of oil, Hazelwood briefly worked as an instructor at his alma mater, the Maritime College of the State University of New York in the Bronx, as a lobster fisherman in Long Island Sound, and as a boat transporter. But for the most part, he has earned a living as a maritime consultant and claims adjustor in the employ of the Manhattan law firm, Chalos and Brown, that has represented him in criminal and civil litigation since the spill. He continues to work there today.

After years of appeals, Hazelwood will begin serving his sentence of 1,000 hours of community service in Alaska this summer. He is scheduled to spend one month each summer for the next five years picking up trash in parks and along roadways.

Retired Superior Court Judge Karl Johnstone presided over Hazelwood's criminal trial and originally sentenced him to 1,000 hours cleaning up the oil spill. That aspect of his penance is no longer possible, but Johnstone said last year that Hazelwood has paid a high price.

"Keep in mind he'll never pursue his career anymore," the judge said. "I think the captain has been vilified more than most who commit a misdemeanor."

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Legacy of a Spill: Stories | Illustrations | Photos

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