07/31/2012 04:08 EDT | Updated 09/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Supreme Court allows Exxon Valdez, tanker in Alaska oil spill, to be dismantled in India

NEW DELHI - India's Supreme Court has allowed the Exxon Valdez, the oil tanker involved in one of the worst U.S. oil spills, to be dismantled in western Gujarat state.

The court ruled Monday that the ship could anchor near Alang, the hub of India's shipbreaking industry.

It said the ship owners would have to pay for disposal of any toxic substances found during its dismantling.

The ship, now known as the Oriental Nicety, entered Indian waters in May. It was denied permission to anchor at Alang after an environmental activist petitioned the top court, saying it contained toxic substances.

In 1989, millions of gallons of crude oil spewed into Alaska's ecologically sensitive Prince William Sound when the Exxon Valdez dashed against rocks, causing incalculable environmental damage.