Oil spill cleanup continues, three more dead birds found

Crews today are continuing to clean up oil that spilled from a tanker into the San Francisco Bay last week, resulting in the closure of several local beaches in the Alameda area and the deaths of at least a dozen birds.

California Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Carol Singleton said contractors hired by the owners of the Panamanian-flagged tanker Dubai Star have finished skimming oil off the surface of the water.

An aerial assessment was conducted Monday and no sheen was seen on the Bay, although oil is still visible on some shorelines, Singleton said.

The contractor still has 36,000 feet of boom in place and about 140 workers performing cleanup, including removing tar from beaches, Singleton said.

“They're getting to the point where they're scooping up tiny tarballs,” she said.

The Dubai Star leaked between 400 and 800 gallons of oil into the Bay two miles south of the Bay Bridge early Friday morning when a mechanical failure occurred during a bunkering operation with a fuel barge.

The area most affected was the East Bay shoreline between the Bay Bridge and the San Mateo Bridge, particularly the Alameda area. Several beaches remain closed today, including Robert Crown Memorial State Beach and Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.

“It's all been contained to the shoreline of Alameda County,” Singleton said.

Fishing and shellfish harvesting have been suspended along that shoreline until further notice, she said.

Three more dead birds were found Monday, bringing the number of birds killed by the oil spill to at least 14, Singleton said. An additional 34 oiled birds are being treated at the San Francisco Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center in Cordelia.

Anyone who spots an oiled animal should call (877) 823-6926.

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