Contaminated beaches reopen

own after they were polluted by Cosco Busan shipping fuel were judged safe and reopened during the weekend, including Baker Beach, China Beach, Crissy Field and Ocean Beach, but four area beaches remained heavily oiled Sunday, including Angel Island and Kirby Cove.

More than 2,000 white- and yellow-clad cleanup workers and volunteers scoured area shorelines and removed oil using sticks, gloved hands and buckets over the weekend, nearly two weeks after the Chinese container ship ripped its hull against the Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of fuel.

Uncertified would-be volunteers continued to be ordered off closed beaches over the weekend and hundreds were turned away from four-hour beach-cleaning training courses because the courses were full.

Tar balls, made up of fuel mixed with sand, could wash up on shores for another week as far south as Año Nuevo, 55 miles south of San Francisco, and as far north as Point Reyes, and they will continue to ebb in and out of the Bay on high tides expected this week, the U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday.

Booms remain in place around polluted piers to prevent fuel from spreading back into the Bay. The piers will be scrubbed after more environmentally sensitive areas have been decontaminated, under Coast Guard plans. Spokeswoman Angelia Rorison on Sunday said that it’s not known when the dirty piers will be cleaned.

Although oil slicks have disappeared from the Bay, Department of Fish and Game spokesman Rob Roberts said efforts to rescue oiled birds will continue.

“They’re still coming in,” Roberts said early Sunday evening.

Two-thirds of the more than 2,000 oiled birds found so far were found dead or died after they were rescued, figures show.

jupton@examiner.com  

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