Bligh Reef

Bligh Reef

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Bligh Reef, sometimes known as Bligh Island Reef, is a reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

 off the coast of Bligh Island in Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound is a sound off the Gulf of Alaska on the south coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is located on the east side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its largest port is Valdez, at the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System...

, Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. This was the location of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill
Exxon Valdez oil spill
The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef and spilled of crude oil. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused...

. After the incident, US Code 33 § 2733 mandated the operation of an automated navigation light to prevent future collisions with the reef. Bligh Reef is also where Alaska Steamship Company
Alaska Steamship Company
The Alaska Steamship Company was formed on August 3, 1894. Charles Peabody, one of the six founding members, served as president of the company from its creation until 1912. While it originally set out to ship passengers and fishing products, the Alaska Steamship Company began shipping mining...

's Olympia ran aground in 1910. Despite these efforts the tug Pathfinder ran aground on Bligh Reef on Dec 24, 2009, rupturing its tanks and spilling diesel fuel.

Bligh Reef serves as a fishing ground for halibut
Halibut
Halibut is a flatfish, genus Hippoglossus, from the family of the right-eye flounders . Other flatfish are also called halibut. The name is derived from haly and butt , for its popularity on Catholic holy days...

 and a harvesting area for shrimp
Shrimp
Shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. Adult shrimp are filter feeding benthic animals living close to the bottom. They can live in schools and can swim rapidly backwards. Shrimp are an important...

. The nearest town is Tatitlek
Tatitlek, Alaska
Tatitlek is a census-designated place in Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States. The population was 107 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Tatitlek is located at ....

, which lies 7 miles to the northeast.

The reef was named after William Bligh
William Bligh
Vice Admiral William Bligh FRS RN was an officer of the British Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. A notorious mutiny occurred during his command of HMAV Bounty in 1789; Bligh and his loyal men made a remarkable voyage to Timor, after being set adrift in the Bounty's launch by the mutineers...

, of future Bounty
HMS Bounty
HMS Bounty , famous as the scene of the Mutiny on the Bounty on 28 April 1789, was originally a three-masted cargo ship, the Bethia, purchased by the British Admiralty, then modified and commissioned as His Majesty's Armed Vessel the...

fame, who served as Master
Master mariner
A Master Mariner or MM is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the person in charge or person in command of a commercial vessel. In England, the term Master Mariner has been in use at least since the 13th century, reflecting the fact that in guild or livery company terms,...

 aboard ship during James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

's third world voyage. The steamship SS Olympia
SS Olympia
The SS Olympia was a steamship laid down as the SS Doune Castle and upon purchase named the SS Dunbar Castle that served the northwest United States and Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. It was built in 1883 by Barclay, Curle and Co. of Glasgow, Scotland, for the Union-Castle Line...

ran aground on Bligh Reef on December 10, 1910 and sank after all passengers were rescued by passing ships.