Chance of another oil spill looms on Peninsula coast

A commercial fishing vessel ran aground in Pescadero early Thursday morning, nearly stranding two men and putting the Pigeon Point State Park area at risk of an oil spill from the vessel.

At approximately 1:15 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard received a distress call from the 35-foot Lou Denny Wayne commercial fishing boat from Santa Cruz. The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office was also called in, and officers rescued fisherman Gabriel Riddle, 21, from the water.

The captain, Santa Cruz fisherman Leo Morelli, was airlifted to San Francisco International Airport.

Sheriff’s Lt. Marc Alcantara said the boat’s occupants lost control of the vessel and drifted into the rocks just south of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Morelli did not return calls for comment from The Examiner.

Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Anya Hunter said the vessel did not sink, but rather ran aground and became stuck in a rocky area. According to the Coast Guard, Morelli said there could have been up to 600 gallons of diesel fuel onboard. However, Hunter said no spills were detected.

But because the fuel poses a “substantial threat to the environment,” the Coast Guard hired the Parker Diving company to pump the fuel out of the vessel’s hold before it is moved, a process that will involve a diver entering the boat to attach hoses to pump the fuel up the 100 foot cliffs overlooking the area.

Once the Lou Denny Wayne can be stabilized enough to allow a diver safely onboard, Parker Diving will begin removing the fuel.

Pigeon Point itself takes its name from another shipwreck, the Carrier Pigeon vessel that hit rocks and sank in 1853 off the point.

jgoldman@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes at SFPUC spark concern, hope

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

A screenshot from SFPD body worn camera
New videos show police shooting man armed with knife, frying pan

Police say Antonio Estrada set fire to apartment building before shooting

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said he expected San Francisco to enter the purple tier within days.
Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner
SF still in the red but expects move into purple tier ‘some time soon’

Four more counties moved into highest COVID-19 risk category by state

Most Read