On Wednesday, November 8th, during heavy fog, the 902-foot long container ship Cosco (China Ocean Shipping Company) Busan hit a post of the Bay Bridge, causing 58,000 gallons of oil to spill into San Francisco Bay and the surrouning areas. Although not comparable to the Exxon-Valdez spill in volume (nearly 11 million gallons) it will likely be incredibly devastating to the area's unique eco-systems.
Oil has been found as far north as Marin County and as far south as Pacifica, a 40 mile stretch of coastline. At least 22 beaches have been closed including Point Reyes National Seashore, the only marine wilderness area south of Alaska. In addition 1,000 oil-soaked birds have been recovered, 550 of which have already died. The marine damage has not yet been assessed but Governor Schwarzenager has suspended all fishing and shellfish harvesting.
Paul from horsesass.org, a recent witness to the catastrophe said this:
"Think of it this way: If inner Puget Sound was coated with brown gobs of sticky goo, if beaches were closed to the public (even to volunteer cleanup), if boats at local marinas had tarred bathtub rings marring their hulls, and if waterfront property owners had days of cleanup on their hands"While there are at least 1,500 workers and volunteers, as well as 53 vessels working to contain and clean up the disaster, a recent analysis of the area says that the remaining 40,000 gallons of oil are most likely unrecoverable. Although city officials are quick to reassure tourists that the problem is under control there is no doubt that this disaster will have a lasting negative impact on the region.
Other News Reports on the Spill:
[HorsesAss]: Incompetence is the Strategy
[Wikipedia]: Nov. 7 SF Bay Oil Spill
[Brisbane Times]: Oil Spill pollutes San Fran Bay
[Environment Service News]: Most of San Fran Bay Oil Spill Not Recoverable
[USA Today]: Oil Spill Kills More than 550 Birds
[The Guardian]: Oil Spill Gets Hairy
[BBC]: Inquiry into California Oil Spill