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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Environment & Forest Defense
Baykeeper Response to Cosco Busan Oil Spill on San Francisco Bay
The massive Cosco Busan oil spill on San Francisco Bay and the adjoining ocean waters continues to kill and injure birds, sea mammals and fish. It is a huge environmental tragedy, caused by corporate and government incompetence and mismanagement. This is the action alert about the oil spill from the Baykeeper from their website, http://www.baykeeper.org.
Citizen Response to San Francisco Bay Oil Spill
Let us know if you would like to get involved by signing up to help or by making a donation to support Baykeeper's efforts to clean up Bay pollution.
Wednesday’s spill of bunker fuel from a South Korea-bound container ship is shaping up to be much more serious than early reports indicated and appears to be the worst ship-related spill in more than a decade. The Coast Guard estimates that over 58,000 gallons of fuel were spilled from the accident, up from their initial approximation of only 140 gallons. Only a fraction of those gallons of fuel have been contained thus far.
San Francisco Baykeeper is investigating why initial reports underestimated the size of the spill and why the Coast Guard failed to immediately coordinate its response with the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, the state agency charged with responding to oil spills.
As a member of the OSPR Task Force, Baykeeper is watchdogging this issue closely through conversations with the Coast Guard and state agencies involved in the cleanup. We are pressing all agencies participating in the cleanup to work immediately to minimize impacts on aquatic ecosystems and human health in response to this emergency.
Several area beaches and recreational areas have been closed. These beaches are in national parks, which are home to threatened and endangered species like the Western Snowy Plover, and the coastal waters off the mouth of the Golden Gate are national marine sanctuaries. Tarballs, a sticky petroleum emulsion, have already started to appear on local beaches.
For your safety, avoid contact with fuel slicks in the water or tarballs in the sand. Wash any exposed areas with soap and mineral oil upon exposure. Initial reports suggest that the spill slick has reached Angel and Alcatraz Islands and all the way outside the Golden Gate at Point Bonita.
San Francisco Baykeeper members and Bay Area residents can get involved in the cleanup by looking for birds and animals that have been covered in oil. Spills coat birds’ feathers, making it difficult for them to stay warm and eat. In addition to being smothered by oil, aquatic organisms are also exposed to a range of toxic chemicals, including chemicals that are known to cause cancer. Long term survival rates for animals exposed to oil spills is shockingly low.
It is important that citizens do not go out with a towel or box to capture oiled animals, which could further injure the animal and subject people to hazardous materials present in fuel. If you find an injured bird, call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 1-877-823-6926.
Citizens may be called upon to help rehabilitate injured wildlife and clean up beach pollution after we know more about the spill’s impact. Let us know if you would like to get involved by signing up to help or by making a donation to Baykeeper today, volunteer [at] baykeeper.org. You may also help us document the impacts of the spill by sending us photographs.