Bligh Reef

Map excerpt showing Bligh Reef.
Map excerpt showing Bligh Reef and automated beacon.

Bligh Reef, sometimes known as Bligh Island Reef,[1] is a reef off the coast of Bligh Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska. This was the location of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.[2] After the incident, US Code 33 § 2733 mandated the operation of an automated navigation light to prevent future collisions with the reef.[3] Despite these efforts the tug Pathfinder ran aground on Bligh Reef on Dec 24, 2009, rupturing its tanks and spilling diesel fuel.[4] Bligh Reef is also where Alaska Steamship Company's Olympia ran aground in 1910.[5][6]

Bligh Reef serves as a fishing ground for halibut[7] and a harvesting area for shrimp.[8] The nearest town is Tatitlek, which lies 7 miles to the northeast.[1]

The reef was named after William Bligh, of future Bounty fame, who served as Master aboard ship during James Cook's third world voyage.


  1. 1 2 "Bligh Reef". HomeTownLocator, Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  2. "Frequently asked questions about the Spill". History of the Spill. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. Archived from the original on 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  3. 33 USC 2733
  4. "Tug grounds on Bligh Reef". MarineLog. 2009-12-27. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
  5. "Olympia's Passengers Safe". New York Times. 1910-12-13. p. 10. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  6. "Details of the Wreck of the S.S. Olympia", Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. January 3, 1911. Page 2.
  7. "Prince William Sound July Fishing Summary". Alaska Department of Fish & Game. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  8. "Prince William Sound Shrimp" (PDF). Recreational Fishing Series. Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 1, 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-17.

Coordinates: 60°50′26″N 146°52′48″W / 60.84056°N 146.88000°W / 60.84056; -146.88000

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