Company responds to crane collapse

An estimated 50 gallons of oil leaked into San Francisco Bay near Pier 70 this morning when a dry dock crane tipped into the water, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Erik Swanson said.

The crane, owned by BAE Systems, can only hold about 100 gallons of oil at one time, according to Swanson. Officials said about 50 gallons were in the crane when it dropped into the water, Swanson said.

The company, which operates BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair, sent out its own hazardous materials cleanup team to mop up the oil, according to Swanson. Boons were put in place to keep the spill from spreading, and Coast Guard officials remained on scene to supervise.

The machinery tipped over at about 10 a.m. and landed in the dry dock, an underwater docking system that, when drained, provides a dry surface for ships undergoing repairs, Swanson said. Water was drained from around the crane so the crane could be removed, he said.

A man operating the crane was tossed into the Bay when the crane tipped over, and he was immediately scooped out of the water by a nearby tugboat, officials said.

Fire officials transported the man to San Francisco General Hospital as a precaution, but he appeared unharmed, San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

The Federal Division of Occupational Safety and Health will investigate the accident in place of Cal/OSHA because the incident occurred in the water, Cal/OSHA spokesman Dean Fryer said.

The agency will reportedly determine if BAE Systems was using proper safety procedures when the accident occurred,Fryer said.

Bay City News

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