A cargo ship bound for San Francisco collided with the Bay Bridge resulting in 58,000 gallons of fuel being dumped into the bay. Initial reports sited by Eric Bailey of the Los Angeles Times showed that the tides had spread the slick to “several beaches and threatened shorebirds, seals, and other marine mammals that make a home in the bay.” According to Steve Edinger assistant chief for the California Deptartment of Fish and Game “This is a significant event. . . this one we are very concerned about.”
The ship collided with a steel and concrete shield which protects one of the Oakland Bay Bridge’s support towers. The bridge piling was not damaged and the shield itself is under repair. Meanwhile the damaged container ship the “Cosco Busan” was towed to Candlestick point and surrounded by 18,000 feet of “log booms” to contain the leakage.
According to the Times, Melissa Hauck of the US Coast Guard stated that “eight oil-skimming boats were working to clean up the slick, which had begun to spread beyond the Golden Gate. . . 8,000 gallons had been collected so far.”
The damage so far is the adulteration of oil waste on eight of the finest beaches and parks in this country: Muir Beach, Kirby Cove, Rodeo Beach, Black Sand Beach, Baker Beach, Crissy Field, China Beach and Fort Point.
The damage to life is incalculable to this point. Bird life is greatly effected as contaminated birds lose the ability to ingest nourishment and water due to their instinctual attempts to clean their feathers by preening. Likewise fish and sea life will be damaged and the real question is for how long and to what degree? The real work is just beginning.