San Francisco Bay Oil Spill Update

SAN FRANCISCO — More than 200 people are responding to the COSCO BUSAN oil spill. There are five skimmers in the Bay and three skimmers outside of the Golden Gate Bridge working to recover spilled oil. A skimmer is a mechanized oil recovery system. It utilizes a belt that is made from a a material that attracts oil. 18,000 feet of boom has been placed around the Bay Area to protect the Beaches and wildlife.

Two overflights were conducted this morning to evaluate the movement of the spilled oil and to assist in the directing of oil spill response vessels. Oil is now reported to be as far south as Hunters Point, east of Treasure Island and Angel Island, up through Raccoon Straits and Brook Island along the San Francisco city waterfront and past the Golden Gate Bridge as far north as Tennessee Point in Marin County.

Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) and National Response Center (NRC) reports an estimated 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel was leaked into the San Francisco Bay yesterday with approximately 8,000 gallons recovered. Due to potential health concerns, Baker Beach, Fort Point, Crissy Field, China Beach, Kirby Cove, Rodeo Beach, Muir Beach and Angel Island shoreline are closed to the public. The Ferries are still running to Angel Island.

California Department of Fish and Game has reported six live oiled birds have been recovered. The public is asked to report any injured and or oiled wildlife and not to approach or handle as there may be safety concerns. Oiled Wildlife reporting hot line: 877-823-6926.

Oil sightings and claims number: 985-781-0804.

A 100-foot safety zone is in place around the COSCO BUSAN which is currently moored at Anchorage Nine and a 100-foot security zone is being enforced around the affected tower, tower D, of the Bay Bridge.

Response and recovery efforts will be continuing throughout the day to include shoreline assessment teams.

An investigation as to the cause of this incident is being conducted by the Coast Guard.

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  1. Joseph Smith says:

    What a tragedy. That is like half a millions dollars worth of wasted fuel.

  2. A Comeau says:


    It makes me sick that oil has caused yet another horrific tragedy — hurting creatures who have nothing to do with our greedy fuel-hungry (and starved) world in the first place.

  3. No hope for the contaminated seabirds! –

    Unfortunately, there is little hope for the oil covered seabirds of San Francisco Bay.

    In 2002 I witnessed and produced a documentary on the Prestige oil spill in northern Spain, the worst environmental disaster in european history and bigger than the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Despite best efforts by SEO Birdlife workers to recover and clean the oil covered seabirds, of the thousands hand washed birds, SEO’s own studies showed that few if any survived in the months following. The estimated total of birds that died in that oil spill was over 300,000. The damage to the marine environment was incalculable as the oil was not contained and spread across thousands of kilometers of coastline from Spain to France, Portugal and the UK. The sunken hull of the Prestige continues leaking oil today from deep beneath the sea. See video clips of oil spill stock footage damage on our website at, including SEO Birdlife volunteers cleaning the birds by hand.

    Hopefully the recent oil spill in the San Francisco Bay area will not affect too much of the wildlife there, especially since it is my home as well. On the bright side, at least it was a small spill in comparison, spilling “only” 58,000 gallons versus 20,000,000 gallons from the Prestige. The most important factor is the containment, and it sounds like it will be controlled quickly and effectively versus the very delayed action and poor job done in Spain.