Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another Spill in San Francisco Bay.

There has been another oil spill involving bunker fuel in San Francisco Bay, again south of the Bay Bridge.

The spill occurred at 6:48 a.m. as a barge pumped fuel into the tanker Dubai Star 2 1/2 miles south of the bridge, officials said. Emergency crews were scrambling to contain the oil slick and prevent it from reaching shore, where it could harm wildlife.

After realizing what had happened, the ship's crew shut off the source of the spill, officials said, but the oil had already spilled onto the Dubai Star's deck and poured into the water, where it was drifting with the tide.

Officials said they are not sure whether human error or mechanical failure caused the spill....

The Dubai Star is a Panamanian-flagged vessel built in 2007. It is owned by South Harmony Shipping Inc. of Panama and was carrying light jet fuel as cargo as it headed into the Bay Area. The fuel that spilled was propulsion fuel, not the ship's cargo.
 A similar incident occurred almost exactly two years ago. Yesterday's spill appears to be smaller, and the Coast Guard was notified of the incident much faster, so it is possible that environmental effects will be less severe. This article reports that the International Bird Rescue and Research Center is prepared to rehabilitate up to 2,000 birds. So far no bird injuries have been reported. The IBRRC has its own update on the situation.