High tide forces spilled oil back onto area beaches

A high tide Tuesday morning washed fuel spilled from the Cosco Busan off dirty piers and marinas and onto beaches previously cleaned of the toxic goo, according to an official who has led state cleanup efforts.

On Nov. 7, the Cosco Busan, a cargo ship owned by Hong Kong-based Regal Stone Ltd., crashed into a Bay Bridge tower, spilling 58,000 gallons of fuel into the Bay during a very high tide.

On Tuesday morning, another high tide lifted the Bay for the first time in more than a week to the same height reached 40 minutes after the accident, tide charts show.

“The high-water line is getting up to where that first oil line was deposited,” Department of Fish and Game official Rob Roberts told The Examiner on Tuesday. Roberts has led the state’s cleanup operation.

The reoiling of beaches was described as “really, really frustrating” by Roberts. “I think we’re making progress — but we’re not," he said after he visited Rodeo Beach, where oil globs as big as tennis balls washed ashore. “We had it pretty much clean.”

Globs also washed up on Stinson Beach, according to Roberts.

The U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday sent quick-response cleanup crews to clean up fresh globs from Baker Beach, Muir Beach, Horseshoe Cove, Pacifica and Albany Beach, according to Petty Officer Michael Anderson. More than 100 workers scoured Albany Beach, Anderson said.

Around 1,600 feet of floating boom was wrapped around contaminated piers and other areas late Tuesday to prevent oil from washing back into the Bay, after 700 feet was taken out of the water, according to U.S. Coast Guard figures. Not all piers around San Francisco and the Bay are ringed by booms.

More than 1,800 birds have now been killed by the spill, according to Coast Guard figures.

jupton@examiner.com

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