San Francisco Bay Oil Spill Response, Some Facts that Can Not Be Ignored

by OldSailor on November 10, 2007




Incident: 900 foot container ship M/V Cosco Busan Allides With San Francisco Bay Bridge:

07 November 2007:

  • The incident has occurred on wednesday at about 0830 hours on an especially foggy morning.
  • A Unified Command consisting of US Coast Guard, California Fish and Game Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response and the O’Brien’s Group (contracted by the responsible party) was set up to give quick response.
  • Out of estimated oil spill of 58,000 gallons, only 8,000 gallons could be recovered after 12 hours of the incident occurrence.

08 November 2007:

  • Due to potential health concerns, Baker Beach, Fort Point, Crissy Field, China Beach, Kirby Cove, Rodeo Beach,
    Muir Beach and Angel Island shoreline were closed to the public.
  • More than 200 people were engaged in responding to the CoscoBusan oil spill. Five skimmers in the Bay and three skimmers outside of the Golden Gate Bridge were working to recover spilled oil. 18,000 feet of boom was placed around the Bay Area to protect the Beaches and wildlife. Two overflights were conducted in the morning to evaluate the movement of the spilled oil and to assist in the directing of oil spill response vessels.
  • Media tour by boat to the oil spill area to assess response efforts was arranged at 1515 hours.
  • The Unified Command for the response efforts to the M/V Cosco Busan has requested the media’s assistance in disseminating phone numbers for the public to provide information on the the movement of oil sheens, as well as any oiled wildlife identified.
  • All crewmembers and the Pilot who were onboard the CoscoBusan at the time of the accident were alcohol tested within the required two hour time limit.

09 November 2007:

  • There are news reports that US Coast Guard is being criticized for the delayed response.

Before criticizing the Coast Guard, let us not ignore these facts:

  • The incident has occurred during low visibility on a foggy morning.
  • Results of alcohol test of crew members of M/V Cosco Busan are not yet available.
  • The quantity of oil that would be spilled can not be assessed very accurately.
  • It is the tides,winds and currents decide the spread of the oil spill.
  • Latest technology to contain oil spill by Imbiber Beads is yet to be introduced.
  • Once the spill starts, damage to marine life can be only minimized but can not be avoided.

Click here to view a video clip of the incident.

Update:March 17, 2008

John Joseph Cota, the pilot of the Cosco Busan has been charged with violations of the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Click here for more details.

Update: June 24

A bill to reduce allowable time to respond to oil spill from six hours to two hours in San Francisco Bay has been passed.  Read  more from  sustainable  shipping.

Update: May 08, 2009

Download and read the 161 page Accident Report on Cosco Busan allision with San Francisco Bay Bridge from National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as pdf.

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