Latest News on San Francisco Bay Oil Spill

Since Governor Schwarzenegger proclaimed a State of Emergency in the San Francisco Bay area on November 9, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has been coordinating 40 local, state, and federal organizations in the Cosco Busan oil spill response effort. As of a November 14 press release, the latest news from the San Francisco USCG when MarEx went online, "The Unified Command for the Cosco Busan oil spill continues response efforts as cleanup crews focus on beaches around the bay area." As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, 1,517 people were helping in the cleanup.

On November 7, the container ship Cosco Busan struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge span "D" at 8:30 a.m. According to a USCG press release, "the vessel was south bound towards Anchorage 9 with a pilot onboard at the time of the allision." The ship was damaged on the forward left side and 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel leaked from it. Soon after the incident, the vessel was moved to Anchorage 9 on its own power, leaking oil as it went, and San Francisco police and the USCG enforced a 100-foot safety zone around the fuel in the water.

As of the November 14 press release, the results of the cleanup effort so far are listed below:

-More than 27,500 feet of containment boom is currently deployed to confine and collect oil in the water.
-12,745 gallons of oil has been collected.
-580 gallons have been dispersed naturally.
-An additional estimated 4,060 gallons of oil has evaporated.
-53 vessels are working to remediate the spill.
-Three helicopters are surveying the area.
-804 live oiled birds recovered.
-244 birds washed.
-105 birds died/euthanized.
-590 collected dead.

When MarEx went online, over 25 beaches in the Bay Area were closed. See www.uscgsanfrancisco.com for the latest beach closings/openings update.

USCG Commandant Thad W. Allen visited the area over the weekend to review the progress of the cleanup. For the latest news, check the San Francisco USCG's Web site, located at www.uscgsanfrancisco.com. California's Department of Fish and Game has also set up a Web site for information on the incident, located here. Though USCG pollution investigators and marine inspectors from Sector San Francisco have just begun investigating the cause of the incident, which will entail drug and alcohol testing of the crew, it has been reported that "visibility was limited" due to fog when the accident occurred.

**Photo: SAN FRANCISCO -- Richard Mollere and Marcus Tosbath from NSU assisted in the cleaning up of the San Francisco Bay today by towing containment booms off tugs and dragging them across the waters of the bay. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Marin.)