Every Bird Matters
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Posts Tagged ‘bunker crude’

December 14, 2007

Banning bunker fuel: Tread lightly expert says

An environmental chemist looking into the rush to ban the use of bunker fuel on ships, says the alternatives, especially diesel can be harder to cleanup. Christopher Reddy’s Open Forum piece in the San Francisco Chronicle and is worth a careful read:

“…Bunker oil is highly viscous, sticky, and floats. Bunker oil spills are visually obvious but the very nature of this product allows it to be cleaned up easier than diesel fuel. It can be boomed, skimmed and oil-covered objects along shorelines, often called dirty bathtub rings, can be removed. Diesel fuel is less viscous and harder to contain and recover. Once in the water, diesel insinuates itself into the lifecycles of plants and animals. Toxicity is always difficult to define, but in a relative manner, diesel fuel is significantly more lethal than bunker fuel.

Pure vegetable fuels and biodiesel are attractive alternatives but are not perfect. One marine spill of vegetable oil in Europe left behind a polymerized residue that one scientist argued was more persistent than petroleum fuels. Another spill of vegetable oil in Canada resulted in a large kill of birds. Biodiesel is used to formulate a range of mixtures from B2 (2 percent biodiesel mixed with 98 percent petroleum diesel) to B100 (100 percent biodiesel). While the biocomponent of biodiesel mixtures is much safer and less persistent in the environment, anything less than B100 will contain petroleum diesel with the same negative attributes…”

Read onward

November 22, 2007

Renewed efforts to ban bunker crude

The use of bunker crude oil, the bargain basement substance that leaked into the San Francisco Bay this month, is under renewed pressure to have it banned. From politicians to scientists to environmental groups, bunker crude is under the gun.

Ocean shipping companies love the $1.70 a gallon price, but with cheap oil comes expensive and damaging consequences. The heavy oil has left lasting damage to the bay’s ecosystem and bird life. The latest 58,000 gallon spill is yet to be cleaned up and dead and dying birds are still being collected in many areas of the bay. Also in the burning of this oil, emissions can be acute and even in cities like Oakland, CA where docked and idling ships run generators, there are threats of litigation over its use.

The toxic gunk is stored in auxiliary “bunker” tanks that power ships’ generators. The Cosco Busan was carrying at least 1 million gallons of the low grade fuel when it ran into the San Francisco Bay Bridge on November 7, 2007. As of this week, only a fifth or 12,000 gallons of the spilled oil had been cleaned up.

This heavy fuel oil is well know carcinogen and contact with skin is ALWAYS to be avoided. When its burned, this high sulphur fuel said to be more than 1,000 times dirtier than the diesel fuel used in trucks and buses.

Also see:

The Friends of the Earth