View Full Version : OIL SPILL

11-07-2007, 10:20 PM
Cancel those bay fishing trips guys >:(, I dont think this spill couldve came at a worse time

57,000 gallons of oil spill in San Francisco Bay
By Sandra Gonzales and Paul Rogers
Mercury News
Article Launched: 11/07/2007 09:25:20 PM PST

In the largest oil spill in San Francisco Bay in at least a decade, a 900-foot container ship navigating through heavy fog collided Wednesday with a Bay Bridge abutment, spilling 57,000 gallons, according to preliminary estimates.

Wednesday's collision punctured a fuel tank, allowing heavy duty bunker fuel oil to leak into the Bay, and noxious fumes waft toward San Francisco's financial district.

After reports that oil was washing up on shore, the National Park Service closed five San Francisco beaches - Fort Point, Baker Beach, China Beach, Crissy Field and Kirby Cove, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Anderson.

As the oil spread, it began hitting major landmarks in the water around San Francisco.

"By 1 p.m. oil hit the rocks at Alcatraz," said Chris Powell, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. "By 2 p.m., the sheen was on the beach at Crissy Field. By 3 p.m., it was on the rocks at Fort Point."

Powell said the National Park Service closed six beaches Wednesday afternoon: Crissy Field, China Beach, and Baker Beach in San Francisco, along with Rodeo Beach, Kirby Cove and Black Sands Beach in Marin County.

She said it was unknown what the impact is on wildlife.

"We certainly are concerned about wildlife. The concern is how widespread this is going to go along the coast.'

The sheen, she said, appeared to be moving west, under the Golden Gate and into
the Pacific Ocean. Coast Guard reports also placed it as far north as Dillon Beach and as far south as Hunters Point.

"We are concerned. We take this very seriously," said Powell. "We want to make sure we do our best to protect the visitors and the wildlife. We're going to have a sleepless night tonight."

For years biologists have been concerned that a significant oil spill inside San Francisco Bay could cause major environmental damage. The reason? The bay has only one narrow opening at the Golden Gate, and the right combination of currents could push oil south, coating sensitive San Mateo, Alameda and Santa Clara County marshes, which are home to fish, birds and harbor seals.

Wednesday, signs were posted warning the public not to swim or fish in several areas, and a hot line was set up to take reports of fouled wildlife.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Anderson said the agency came up with the preliminary estimates by taking water samples from the Bay and comparing the liquid load on the vessel before and after the crash. "It's a fairly complicated process," he said.

Anderson said they've taken 8,000 gallons from the Bay thus far and will continue clean-up operations at daybreak today.

Wednesday night, the U.S. Coast guard maintained a security perimeter around its vessel and the sheen, which is the fuel on top of the water. "As soon as day break comes we will ramp up our clean-up operations," he said.

About 8:30 a.m., the COSCO Busan struck the base of the second suspension tower west of Yerba Buena Island, cutting a gash estimated to be about 80 feet long and 20 feet wide toward the front of the ship's left side. After the collision, the fuel evaporated into noxious fumes that wafted toward San Francisco's financial district.

The incident prompted the involvement of more than a dozen local, state and federal agencies, dealing with a myriad of issues ranging from international shipping and harbor piloting to air quality and the welfare of the Bay's aquatic creatures.

The collision had no effect on the bridge or anyone driving across it, and Caltrans engineers who examined the structure determined that the vessel did not make contact with the actual concrete abutment, said Caltrans Bay Bridge spokesman Bart Ney.

But the impact damaged the vessel, owned by South Korean Hanjin Shipping. It was carrying containers for the China Ocean Shipping Co. Once the ship's crew and the Coast Guard had transferred fuel from the breached tank and contained the spill with absorbent foam barriers, it was moved across the Bay to Anchorage Nine, offshore from the former naval station in Alameda.

The ship's owner, South Korea-based Hanjin Shipping was in the process of hiring contractors to further clean the spill which also left a 3-foot-wide trail as the ship crossed the Bay. The Coast Guard prohibited boats from getting within 100 yards of the ship or 50 yards on either side of the slick, Neff said.

The San Francisco public health department issued a statement noting that oil vapors had sickened people onshore, causing headaches and nausea, but said the fumes posed no long-term health effects. Ney said the damage to the bridge could be fixed without too much trouble, but would probably require an emergency contract.

As of Wednesday evening, the reason for the mishap was still under investigation.

The spill is believed to be the largest in San Francisco Bay since 1996, when the Cape Mohican, a military reserve vessel, spilled 40,000 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay near Pier 70. The spill occurred during routine maintenance when a valve was accidentally left open. It fouled 56 miles of beaches, killing or injuring more than 5500 pelicans, gulls, terns and other birds.

Prior to that, an explosion on another ship, the Puerto Rican, spilled 1.5 million gallons of oil in the open ocean off the Golden Gate in 1984.

By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill was 11 million gallons.

11-07-2007, 10:51 PM
thanks for the update, I dont frickn believe it. With all of todays technology there is no way in hell that should have happened. Lets keep are fingers crossed and hope this gets cleaned up quickly and dosent effect our local fish to badly. I guess I might not be eating my catches for a while.

11-07-2007, 11:21 PM
Gee whiz, as if the fishing this year hasn't been tough enough already, this has to happen.

11-08-2007, 05:42 AM
This really chaffes my hide because it was completely avoidable. *

From the Mercury News...

The sheen, she said, appeared to be moving west, under the Golden Gate and into the Pacific Ocean. Coast Guard reports also placed it as far north as Dillon Beach and as far south as Hunters Point.

LNG ships (Liquified Natural Gas) have never had a spill because they have been double hulled fron the start. *But Oil Companies would rather destroy the planet than spend any of their record profits to double hull their ships. *Yes this was a cargo ship - same rules apply.

I've flown over the Bay in a small plane and seen the oil deposits left at the piers of major ships. *

Take a look on Google Earth at the waters around Hong Kong - Do we want our waters to be so full of oil you can see it from space? For that matter take a look at the Bay - large areas of blackness are already there. Oil floats but not when it coats something that doesn't.

11-08-2007, 12:10 PM
All I can say is I am glad I fueled up yesterday morning, they will tie this in to somehow raising gasoline prices by 50 cents.

11-08-2007, 02:39 PM
Just checked with Lawson Landing - they say no oil up there - or bunker fuel as the case may be. Why couldn't they have spilled some butter and garlic instead.

11-08-2007, 04:09 PM
this is bad and its spreading. soon your areas or activities will be affected.

11-08-2007, 04:57 PM
Some pics of the situation here http://www.knbc.com/slideshow/news/14544529/detail.html

I hear they are closing pier fishing in some places.

11-08-2007, 06:46 PM
150,000 gallons this evening >:(

11-08-2007, 07:26 PM
Does anyone know if the oil will travel north or south?

11-08-2007, 08:40 PM
it will go everywhere. the sf bay is like a set of lungs with san pablo and south bay. the spill was pretty close to the wind pipe.

how can you drive a boat into a friggin bridge? i don't care if it's dark, foggy etc. you've got radar, gps. i could almost forgive a submerged rock or something. but nothing in navigation is better marked on the planet than a bridge tower. the captain should be thrown into a vat of the slurry he has created.

i mean A N E F ' I N G B R I D G E !
[smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif] [smiley=hissyfit.gif]

11-08-2007, 09:49 PM
whats hella whack

11-09-2007, 12:50 AM
We need to find a way to stick it to the oil companies so that they cannot raise prices and get it back.m Does anyone know which oil company was shipping the oil on this ship?

11-09-2007, 05:32 AM
I really like the part where the Coast Guard tested everyone for drugs and alcohol right away, except for the Pilot! WTF - the guy driving the ship gets off, disappears and isn't tested until 26 hours later? And the Coast Guard blows this off as if it's nothing. You gotta be kidding me. What, he forgot his license at home or something?

whats hella whack - Ummm yeah ok. Is that anything like not groovey?

11-09-2007, 08:47 AM
I'm sure the oil company is doing everything in its power to avoid a gigantic lawsuit and a negative drug/alcohol test for the pilot will really help in its defense. I hope some environmental group or the government sues its a$$ ala the Exxon Valdez.

11-09-2007, 09:29 AM
We need to find a way to stick it to the oil companies so that they cannot raise prices and get it back.m Does anyone know which oil company was shipping the oil on this ship?

The ship was not an oil tanker but a South Korean container ship.

11-09-2007, 09:37 AM
We need to find a way to stick it to the oil companies so that they cannot raise prices and get it back.m Does anyone know which oil company was shipping the oil on this ship?

The ship was not an oil tanker but a South Korean container ship.
Thanks D for clearing that up!!


11-09-2007, 09:41 AM
Actually, the oil was fuel for the container ship, which was heading for Korea, not a shipment of oil. Apparently both bunker and diesel were spilled, with the more volatile diesel much harder to contain and clean up.

There are interesting articles about the pilot and the pilot's association in the Chron and Contra Costa Times. Apparently he did not actually run away, as reported, but was transferred to the pilot's association office, where he was tested (and passed) within a short time after the incident. I suspect his career is over, though. If you were a shipping company, would you want him on the bridge of your ship?



11-09-2007, 10:13 AM
I'm trying to determine what this bunker oil is used for since it appears to be in crude type and not refined at any level. There appears to be 2 oil spill problems then, the diesel fuel that floats on the surface and creates the "smell" and the bunker (crude) oil that balls up and sinks when it's density is heavier than water, is very sticky and difficult to clean up.

I'd willing to bet that this captain wasn't licensed to operate in the SF Bay Area nor was the vessel "Tug-guided" for a non area-licensed captain.

11-09-2007, 11:12 AM
Bunker C is the standard grade of fuel oil used to power large diesel ships. *It is a relatively inexpensive residual cut from the distillation process. *It is nasty stuff. *Ships also carry normal diesel fuel for their generators. *This isn't as toxic.

Ships are under the direction of local pilots as they enter the bay. The captains are often not even on the bridge.

11-09-2007, 04:45 PM
drstressor is right - these ships aren't piloted into the bay by amateurs. the pilots legally have to be local. i wasn't aware that they were able to pilot the ship remotely though ... that could be a problem.

this bunker fuel is literally bottom of the barel fuel. it is often the byproduct of other fuel refinement. very toxic.

again i have to say: an ef'ing bridge tower. >:(

11-09-2007, 05:47 PM
yea this majorly sucks. I go to the maritime academy in vallejo and that is what my major is is marine transportation. It really should have never happened. Its just a big bummer what that does to our fish and birds in the bay, and from what i know the bay was pretty polluted before this and just add this on top and it just isn't that good. i was gonna try and get some halibut out in berkeley, but now dont care to. the bright side for me is the pilot will most likley get fired, because its not his first incident and that means it opens a job up for me.