Every Bird Matters
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Posts Tagged ‘Cosco Busan’

March 26, 2008

Many ships fail California test for spill alerts

A high number of inspected cargo ships entering California ports are failing routine emergency oil spill drills, according to state inspectors.

In public records obtained by The Sacramento Bee newspaper, 21 of 164 vessel given spot inspections by state officials over the past three years were lacking the ability to make phone notifications within the 30-minute time frame set down by a state law covering maritime oil spill procedures. Often the ship’s crew failed to locate the phone numbers or didn’t understand the task.

The Bee’s story comes on the heals of the Cosco Busan oil spill in which he container ship struck the Bay Bridge, spilling 53,000 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay. The ship’s crew failed to make the vital phone calls in time, among the reasons the spill grew so large.

Also included in the paper’s report is an illuminating time line from the first 90 minutes of the Cosco Busan spill.

The November 7, 2007 fuel oil spill killed more than 2,500 migratory birds.

Read the full story

March 22, 2008

Ship pilot pleads not guilty

John Cota, the pilot entrusted with navigating the container ship that struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of criminal negligence and violating environmental laws.

The 901-foot Cosco Busan ship side-swipped the bridge in November 2007 and spilled more than 50,000 gallons of bunker fuel into the bay. The corresponding spill left thousands of migratory birds coated with the gooey oil. At least 2,500 aquatic birds died in the spill and scientists speculate that thousands more succumbed and were never recovered.

See the San Francisco Chronicle story: Pilot at helm of Cosco Busan pleads not guilty

March 18, 2008

Pilot captain in Cosco Busan oil spill charged

The pilot boat captain responsible for helping navigate the container ship Cosco Busan that struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge and spilling thousands of gallons of oil that ultimately killed 2,500 birds, has been charged in federal court.

On Monday, Capt. John J. Cota of Petaluma was charged with two environmental laws, including violating the Clean Water Act through criminal negligence and of killing birds, a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The 60 year-old Cota was in charge of navigating the 901-foot container ship out of San Francisco Bay on the morning of November 7, 2007 when it ran into the Bay Bridge in heavy fog. More than 50,000 gallons of bunker crude oil spewed out of the side of the ship. The oil spill closed beaches, coated birds with toxic crude and left a swath of oil from Oakland estuaries to Richardson Bay to outside the Golden Gate Bridge.

IBRRC’s Executive Director, Jay Holcomb issued a statement yesterday after the charges came down in San Francisco:

“We are happy to hear that the Federal government is taking the Cosco Busan oil spill disaster seriously, said Holcomb. “We hope that the pilot of the ship will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and send the message that in this day and age this kind of preventable accident is unacceptable.”

In the meantime, Cota had his pilot’s license suspended by a state pilot commission after it concluded that “pilot error” was the cause of the crash.

The bird rescue center helped treat hundreds of birds after the spill. Over 421 were cleaned of oil, banded and released back into the wild. IBRRC depends on the public’s support for all its year-round bird rehabilitation programs. Donate

Read more:

San Francisco Chronicle story

Video report:

Associated Press story from YouTube

March 15, 2008

April NTSB public hearing in DC on SF oil spill

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will hold a two-day public hearing Cosco Busan oil spill that dumped around 55,000 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay after striking the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The hearing will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8 at the NTSB’s Board Room and Conference Center, 429 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, D.C.

The hearing is part of the NTSB’s ongoing investigation into the accident that involved the 900-foot Cosco Busan container ship that struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on November 7, 2007. The board hopes to learn more about why Coast Guard and state officials were so slow to react and report the spill that killed more than 2,500 birds.

The hearing will be webcast. An agenda and webcast details will be posted on the Board’s website, http://www.ntsb.gov, when available.

February 20, 2008

Planting fish eggs to monitor oil spill

Scientists from Bodega Marine Lab are planting herring eggs this week in parts of San Francisco Bay to monitor the affects on fish from the November 2007 bunker fuel spill.

The eggs are being placed in areas hard hit by the spill: Richardson Bay, Horseshoe Cove near Fort Baker and the north side of Angel Island. The eggs will be studied to see what sort of pollution shows up in the embryos.

The spill dumped over 50,000 gallons of the toxic crude into the San Francisco Bay four months ago when the Cosco Busan container ship struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in heavy fog. Only 44% of the oil has been recovered. At least 2,500 birds died in the spill.

See: Marin IJ story: Herring roe will help judge spill’s impact

January 31, 2008

Authorities: Oil on the beach "natural seepage"

The oily mess of tarballs that washed up on Northern California beaches earlier this week is “natural seepage” from the ocean floor and not remnants from the Cosco Busan oil spill, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.

When oil started showing up on beaches from Pacifica to Monterey on Monday, speculation was it might be uncollected oil from the November 7, 2007 spill in San Francisco Bay. Only about 40% of the 53,000 of the bunker fuel oil that spilled has been recovered.

Full story in the San Francisco Chronicle

January 29, 2008

Remnants of Cosco Busan? Tarballs on beaches

Big patches of oil debris and tarballs are washing up on Northern California beaches this week. The first question on people’s minds, is this the remnants of the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay on November 7, 2007?

From Ocean Beach in San Francisco south past San Mateo County beaches, the oily mess has cleanup crews out picking up the debris. Recent storms may be the culprit.

Story from the San Francisco Chronicle

Video report from ABC7-KGO-TV

January 21, 2008

SF Bay spill restoration: Public forums Jan. 22 & 29

The six government agencies responsible for the restoration of the San Francisco Bay after the Cosco Busan oil spill, will hold two public meetings in January 2008.

The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 11 AM. The location of the meeting is First Floor Auditorium at the Elihu M. Harris State Building, 1515 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94601. Building info and location

The second meeting will be held Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 6:30 PM in the Cascade Room at the Mill Valley Community Center 180 El Camino Alto, Mill Valley, CA 94941. See map to the location

According to webpage for California’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), “the primary purpose of the meetings is to provide an opportunity for the public and other organizations to learn about the restoration process and to provide any additional information and data they collected.”

The November 7, 2007 spill killed at least 2,500 birds after 58,000 gallons of bunker crude oil spilled into the bay. Less than a third of the oil has been recovered.

IBRRC update

San Francisco Chronicle story

January 19, 2008

New revelations in spill: Ship pilot’s sleep disorder

More information has surfaced in the Cosco Busan’s collision with the San Francisco Bay Bridge and the subsequent spilling of 58,000 gallons. The latest investigation involves the ship pilot who has revealed he was under medication for sleep apnea, a disorder that causes a person’s breathing to become impaired leading to bouts of sleepiness.

John Cota, 59 was taking the drug Provigil that in some cases “may impair your judgment, thinking, or motor skills.” The warnings continue: “You should not drive a car or operate hazardous machinery until you know how this medication affects you.”

Cota was helping guidie the Cosco Busan out of San Francisco Bay when it side-swiped the bridge in dense fog on November 7, 2007. The bunker fuel that spilled from the 900-foot Hong Kong flagged container ship killed at least 2,500 birds and closed beaches and shoreline for weeks.

See AP story: Pilot’s sleep disorder investigated in SF oil spill

January 9, 2008

Day 55 of spill: More oil churned up by storms

Recent San Francisco Bay Area storms seem to be churning up more of the oil that spilled from the Cosco Busan two months ago. According to news reports, the Coast Guard sent clean-up teams to several beaches along the East Bay shoreline of San Francisco Bay today. Apparently oil was spotted in the Emeryville area this week. KCBS radio report

So far, the Coast Guard says they have recovered about 30 percent of the 58,000 gallons that spilled into the bay on November 7, 2007. The spill happened after the Cosco Busan container ship struck the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge in heavy fog while heading out of the bay.

Over 2,500 birds died from the spill. Another 400 were saved and cleaned and then released back into the wild.

KGO-TV report

December 29, 2007

Any oil at the bottom of San Francisco Bay?

To be on the safe side, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will check to see if any oil settled on the bottom of San Francisco Bay near the site of last month’s Cosco Busan 58,000 gallon oil spill.

According the corps, the swabbing of the bay’s bottom will give it a better idea how far the bunker oil spread when the Cosco Bussan side-swiped the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on November 7, 2007. The resulting spill spread through the bay and ultimately oiled beaches south past Pacifica to north around Point Reyes.

The oil spill was especially tough on birds in the bay. At least 2,500 birds died during the response.

Read the story in the San Francisco Chronicle

Full coverage of Oil Spill

December 21, 2007

Good riddance: Cosco Busan sails out of port

Chased by lawsuits, the Cosco Busan ship that side-swiped the San Francisco Bay Bridge, finally headed back to South Korea.

The ship sailed out of San Francisco on a crsytal clear day on Thursday morning. Numerous lawsuits will follow the owners of the ship, including a big lawsuit filed by the city of San Francisco.

The Hong Kong based Cosco Busan spilled 58,000 gallons of toxic bunker fuel into the San Francisco Bay after it struck the bridge on November 7, 2007. Nearly 2,500 birds were killed in the spill.

It had been at a Pier 70 ship repair yard to fix the 230-foot gash in its port side. Regal Stone, the owner of the 900-foot ship, put up a $80 million note to cover the maritime release bond. Most of that bond will help pay the total cleanup costs on the spill which have been estimated at more than $60 million.

(Coast Guard photo of the gash; Yes it’s been repaired)

December 19, 2007

Birds released hits the 400 mark

This week the release of cleaned birds back to the wild hit the 400 number mark. On Tuesday morning December 18, a team from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network released 4 birds – 2 horned grebes and 2 surf scoters – at San Pablo Bay. All the birds came in from the Cosco Busan oil spill that struck San Francisco Bay on November 7.

Rehabilitation continues for those birds in care with secondary problems, including
hock, keel and foot lesions. Releases will continue as birds come off of
medical care.

November 27, 2007

Latest map of SF spill area and cleanup


The Cosco Busan oil spill is nearly three weeks old. Crews are still searching for oiled animals and exorcising oil from beaches and rocks. If you’re curious where the oil is being reported and where crews are working in San Francisco Bay, see the Unified Command’s online map.

Full map (825 KB PDF)

November 22, 2007

1,053 birds arrived live; 767 washed

New bird care numbers for the SF spill, now more than two weeks old, have been posted:

Birds arrived live: 1,053
Washed: 767
Died/euthanized: 472
Released: 122
Found dead in field: 1,544

Bird numbers also updated daily on this blog’s right hand column.

If you do find an oiled bird, please call (415) 701-2311.

OWCN numbers updated: 11/21/07 @ 8:00 PM