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UPDATED Spill closes beach, halts fishing

Submitted by on 1, October 31, 2009 – 9:46 amOne Comment
Crown Beach is closed Saturday.
Recon crews patrol the Corwn Beach boom.

Recon crews patrol the waters off Crown Beach.

No fishing signs posted at Towata Park.

No fishing signs posted at Towata Park.

Updated 3:02 p.m. Saturday, October 31

Crews are continuing their cleanup of the estimated 400 to 800 gallons of fuel oil that spilled out of a tanker during a refueling run in San Francisco Bay early Friday morning.

No fuel was visible to a reporter who walked the Island’s shores Saturday morning, but an official with the Port of Oakland said some of the fuel had been spotted off Crown Beach. The beach is closed to the public today, and shoreline monitors are keeping an eye on the beach and a protective boom that stretches across the water beyond it.

KCBS radio is reporting that oil has also reached the shores of Ballena Bay, and that a dozen birds have been spotted in East Bay waters covered in oil.

A California Department of Fish and Game rep was posting a no fishing sign at Towata Park at around 10 a.m. today. The state has suspended fishing and shellfish gathering in the areas affected by the spill, with the suspension to continue until the state thinks it’s safe.

Precautionary closure areas included the Alameda County shoreline between the Bay Bridge and the San Mateo Bridge, the Coast Guard said today.

Today’s cleanup consists of skimming and booming operations, they said.

The spill occurred at 6:48 a.m. Friday when the Panamanian-flagged Dubai Star tanker stopped to refuel in the Bay. Coast Guard officials are investigating the cause of the spill, though they have said they believe it was caused by some sort of mechanical failure.

The spill had led to restrictions on vessel traffic in the Bay, and a temporary suspension of the Alameda/Oakland Ferry. The ferry appeared to be running on a normal schedule Saturday (ferry managers did not schedule extra service this weekend for that other little issue we’re having with the Bay Bridge).

In addition to the Coast Guard and private crews, the Alameda Fire Department also responded to the incident, helping to mete out thousands of yards of hazmat booms in an effort to halt the spread of the spill. The department also set up an incident command post at Coast Guard Island and at the fire department to monitor further developments.

One Comment »

  • Jon Spangler says:

    It is nice to know that the spill is being contained and the cleanup is being handled well, but this latest incident raises the longer-term issues of inadequate safety and training regulations regarding our handling of petroleum products and hazardous materials of all kinds.

    We do not yet seem to care enough about ourselves, our children, and our environment to:

    a) severely limit the numbers and amounts of toxic materials we use on a daily basis, from household cleaners to gasoline to bunker fuel for marine diesel engines (the dirtiest of all diesels),

    b) handle these materials with the care, respect, and skill that is required, and

    c) live, work, and consume (or not) as if subsequent generations of many species–including our own–deserve to live in a world that is as nice or nicer than it was for our own.

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