| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO A growing number of San Francisco
area beaches closed on Thursday as officials tried to clean up
58,000 gallons of fuel that leaked into the San Francisco Bay
from a damaged container ship.
"The oil spill in San Francisco Bay is a cause for grave
concern by all who value the resources of our marvelous bay and
Pacific coastline," Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of
Representatives who represents San Francisco, said in a
The Cosco Busan struck a tower of the Bay Bridge on
Wednesday morning amid dense fog, creating a long slash along
the ship that allowed bunker fuel to spill.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom criticized the Coast Guard
for initially saying on Wednesday that just 140 gallons had
spilled. He said the city would hold those responsible
accountable, and threatened legal action if necessary.
Bud Leland, deputy director of California's Office of Spill
Prevention and Response, told Reuters the spill was the worst
in the San Francisco Bay since his office came into existence
in 1991. He said it would likely take several weeks to complete
Tides carried the bunker fuel into the Pacific Ocean beyond
the Golden Gate Bridge and people near the spill on Wednesday
reported headaches and nausea. The spill reached the famed
former prison island of Alcatraz and as far north as Marin
HUNDREDS AT WORK CLEANING
The Coast Guard said 200 people were working on the cleanup
and had recovered about 9,500 gallons of the oil. Yet the pace
of cleanup slowed as tides spread the fuel over a larger area.
Eleven oil-skimming boats were in and around the bay and
workers spread booms across long sections of beach and water
near San Francisco, a city bound by water on three sides.
Steve Edinger, assistant chief of the California Department
of Fish, said workers had found six dead birds and 26 others
alive slicked with oil.
The Cosco Busan, owned by China COSCO Holdings Co Ltd and
leased to South Korea's Hanjin Group, left the Port of Oakland
early on Wednesday and hit a fender around a support tower of
the Bay Bridge on an especially foggy morning.
Only the fender was damaged on what is a vital
transportation link between San Francisco and Oakland and
Berkeley in the East Bay.
The spill forced closure of some of the region's most
famous beaches, such as Crissy Field overlooking the Golden
Gate Bridge and Baker Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Crissy Field
is famed for its scenic views and is popular with windsurfers.
(Additional reporting by Robert Galbraith; Editing by Jim
Christie and John O'Callaghan)