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UPDATE Crown Beach closed indefinitely

Submitted by on 1, November 1, 2009 – 2:49 pm6 Comments
A worker cleans up the shoreline along Bay Farm Island, just off the side of the bridge.

A worker cleans up the shoreline along Bay Farm Island, just off the side of the bridge.

Crown Beach will be closed indefinitely and fishing and shellfish gathering continue to be suspended as cleanup crews turn their efforts toward pulling oil off Alameda’s shores.

An investigation into the cause of the spill is continuing. Earlier reports had indicated that a mechanical problem caused the spill, but Coast Guard representatives would not comment on whether they still believe those reports to be true. Sunday morning, the vessel was moved from Anchorage 9, about 2 miles southwest of Alameda, to Pier 80 in San Francisco for continued cleaning.

A representative for the company that operates the Dubai Star, the tanker vessel that leaked hundreds of gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay early Friday morning, said that most of the oil is out of the Bay and that the crews the company has hired to conduct cleanup are focusing their efforts on the shore.

Barry McFarland, a representative with South Harmony Shipping Incorporated, said that cleanup crews are concentrated on the shores of Crown Beach (from Kitty Hawk to Grand Street), Bay Farm Island and Ballena Bay and Ballena Isle Marina. So far, no other shoreline impacts have been reported.

When asked why the oil couldn’t be stopped from coming to shore, McFarland said efforts had been concentrated around more environmentally sensitive sites and sites that are tougher to clean up. He said sand beaches like Crown Beach are easier to pluck oil from.

Representatives with the state Department of Fish and Game and the Oiled Wildlife Care Network – some of the 16 agencies that have responded to the spill – said some 30 oiled birds had been found alive on the Island as of Saturday night, and 10 birds had died. They said the live birds were transported to the Wildlife Recovery Center in Cordelia, near Fairfield. And they said they expect more oiled birds to turn up as cleanup efforts continue.

A fishing restriction continues to be in effect along the East Bay shoreline between the Bay Bridge and the San Mateo Bridge. Josh Nichols from the state Department of Fish and Game said the restriction would continue until the state Department of Public Health says it’s safe to put a pole back in the water. Nichols could not say when that might be.

If you see an oiled bird or other oiled wildlife, you’re being asked to call (877) 823-6926 so crews can come get it. To report oil sightings, call (510) 437-3186.

The South Harmony folks have also set up a phone line for people who feel they may have business impacts or other claims related to the spill. That number is (800) 421-0863.

The Star leaked somewhere between 400 and 800 gallons of oil into the Bay during refueling early Friday morning. Since then, crews have laid out 42,000 feet of protective boom and some 230 people have been dispatched to do shoreline cleanup. Helicopter flights continue over the Bay to track any oil movement and vessels continue to patrol the waters.

For more information on the spill and cleanup efforts, click here or call 437-3189.


  • Jayne Smythe says:

    This whole thing is so sad. Michele, is there any way that the public can help with the beach clean-up? I mean, I know there are concerns about spreading toxins around and folks with no experience handling birds, and such. But if there is anything the average person could do, I bet we could get some folks out there to help.

    • Hey Jayne,

      Sorry to be so late in responding (tough day). I think the response to that question that I recall is that they have people doing the work, but if you are interested in finding a way to help out, I might call the Joint Information folks at 437-3189 to see if they might accept some type of help.

  • Jayne Smythe says:

    Thanks–will call. And if I find something out that we can help, I'll pass it on here.

  • Ron Salsig says:

    We should be outraged that this has happened to our beach again. The city of Alameda should voice their complaint loud and clear. The people should express their anger. It is unacceptable to have bunker oil spoil our beach. This is a recent phenomena. I lived on the beach for 25 years, nothing like this happened. Now it has happened too many times. Alamedans — be strong and clear that you are upset. Let the media know that Alameda will not stand for this, ever again.

  • Jayne Smythe says:

    Oh, and I called the number above, but all I got was a recorded "This is test message 3" and silence. Guess they are all busy working.

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