Bunker oil spill hits San Francisco Bay

Update: Oil spill prompts fishing ban

A new oil spill on San Francisco Bay this morning has put wildlife spill response teams on high alert. A two-mile-long slick of bunker fuel now stretches across part of San Francisco Bay after a refueling mishap at 6:48 AM Friday between a tanker and a barge.

The Panamanian tanker, Dubai Star, spilled 400 to 800 gallons of heavy bunker fuel about 2 1/2 miles south of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. No birds have been rescued as yet and crews from OWCN/IBRRC have been mobilized to do search and collection of possible oiled birds and other wildlife. IBRRC is a long-time member of OWCN and helps manage two wildlife rescue centers in Northern and Southern California.

The last oil spill on San Francisco Bay in November 2007 resulted in thousands of bird deaths from the 50,000 gallon spill that spread throughout the bay with help of strong tides and winds. Beaches were closed in San Francisco and Marin Counties after the Cosco Busan container ship side-swipped the Bay Bridge in heavy fog.

The San Francisco Dept of Environment and Dept of Public Health have issued the following precautionary recommendations to the public:

– Avoid Bay water contact and beaches until further notice.

– Do not swim in the Bay.

– For Treasure Island Marina, slipholders are asked to keep their vessels in the marina over the weekend.

– Fishing around Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island and from the east side of San Francisco Pier 39 to Candlestick Point is not advisable.

– As of 5:00 pm Friday, October 30, 2009, oil has not arrived on SF’s shores. If members of the public see oiled wildlife, they should contact the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 1-877-823-6926 or www.owcn.org.

– Members of the public should not attempt to handle or clean-up any oil on their own.

– Should any volunteer opportunities to assist with clean-up arise, the public can contact the Department of Fish and Game Volunteer Hotline at 1-800-228-4544.

San Francisco Chronicle story