Cosco Busan oil spill

Last updated

Cosco Busan oil spill
COSCO Busan damage 2007.jpg
The damaged MV Cosco Busan after striking the bridge tower fender
Cosco Busan oil spill
Location San Francisco Bay
Coordinates 37°48′03″N122°22′29″W / 37.80073°N 122.37486°W / 37.80073; -122.37486 Coordinates: 37°48′03″N122°22′29″W / 37.80073°N 122.37486°W / 37.80073; -122.37486
Date7 November 2007
Cause
CauseCosco Busan collision with the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in thick fog.
Operator Fleet Management Limited
Spill characteristics
Volume53,569 US gal (202,780 l; 44,606 imp gal)
Area150 sq mi (390 km2)
Shoreline impacted26 mi (42 km)

The Cosco Busan oil spill occurred at 08:30 UTC-8 on 7 November 2007 between San Francisco and Oakland, California, in which 53,569 US gal (202,780 L) of IFO-380 heavy fuel oil, sometimes referred to as "bunker fuel", spilled into San Francisco Bay after the container ship Cosco Busan, operated by Fleet Management Limited struck Delta Tower of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in thick fog.

Contents

Investigators found that maritime pilot John Cota was impaired because of his use of prescription pharmaceuticals while piloting the container vessel, which rendered him unable to use the onboard radar and electronic navigation charts correctly. This occurred despite the fact that the Vessel Traffic Service of the United States Coast Guard warned Cota that the vessel was headed for the bridge. [1] Cota was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for his role in the incident. [2]

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency after meeting federal, state and local officials overseeing the cleanup. The proclamation made additional state personnel, funding and equipment available to assess and clean up the environmental damage. [3]

Causes

Cosco Busan laid up at Pier 70 for repairs. Next to it is the SS Oceanic. HanjinCoscoBusanAndSSOceanicAtPier70InSanFrancisco.jpg
Cosco Busan laid up at Pier 70 for repairs. Next to it is the SS Oceanic.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the following probable causes of the accident: [4]

  1. the pilot's degraded cognitive performance from his use of impairing prescription medications
  2. the absence of a comprehensive pre-departure master/pilot exchange and a lack of effective communication between Pilot John Cota and Master, Captain Mao Cai Sun during the accident voyage, and
  3. Captain Sun's ineffective oversight of Cota's piloting performance and the vessel's progress.

Other contributing factors included: [4]

  1. the failure of Fleet Management Ltd. to train Cosco Busan crewmembers, including a failure to ensure that the crew understood and complied with the company's safety management system;
  2. the U.S. Coast Guard's failure to provide adequate medical oversight of Cota, in view of the medical and medication information he had reported to the Coast Guard.

In addition, investigations conducted by independent experts from the international maritime community also highlighted the potential effects of insufficient Human-machine interface design, contributing to such accidents even though "human error" is often directly used as the main cause without further investigating shortcomings in the HMI. This is, even though HMI has been accepted as a significant factor in aviation accidents for many decades:

Lack of investigation of accidents at sea and the rash classification of the causes in the category of "human error" will help to cover weaknesses in the design of man-machine- interfaces. This is supported by legal regulations for the Bridge Team Management, the high investment cost for ship handling simulators, the low contribution of human-oriented research and its public support, as well as the readiness of manufacturers to develop more integrated and reliable process control systems. Although an inappropriate behaviour of the parties involved in the accident can be proved by the investigation report, the true causes of such accident like the container ship "Cosco Busan" stay in the darkness or in the field of speculation! The faulty design of man-machine-interfaces and deficiencies in information processing and others remain largely unmentioned. Based on a careful analysis of the accident documents the author proves that technical weaknesses were overlooked as well as failures in displaying and processing of information had not been taken into account. For the developers of new support systems and the aimed level of "dependability" of integrated ship bridge systems this is a great disadvantage. [5]

Responsibility

NOAA Overflight Map 2007-11-09 1205-1325 20071110 farallon islands 150dpi.jpg
NOAA Overflight Map 2007-11-09 1205–1325

Senator Barbara Boxer and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom criticized the Coast Guard for its response, as its initial reported figures, between 100 and 400 US gal (380 and 1,510 L) of oil, were significantly lower than those of the actual spill. [6]

On Friday, 30 November 2007, the United States government filed a lawsuit against the ship and the pilot.[ citation needed ]

On 23 July 2008, a federal grand jury indicted Fleet Management Ltd. of Hong Kong, the company that operated Cosco Busan. The indictment included six felonies for allegedly falsifying documents to interfere with a federal investigation and two misdemeanor counts of criminal negligence for allegedly helping to cause the spill. [7] The company offered to plead guilty to the misdemeanors. This federal criminal case was resolved when Fleet paid $10 million in fines and restitution. $8 million went to a victim/witness fund and $2 million went to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be used for environmental projects in the Bay Area.

On 23 October 2008, the California state Board of Pilot Commissioners released a report, saying the spill was the result of a series of mistakes by the maritime pilot Captain John Cota. The 18-page report found Cota had made seven serious errors in piloting the ship, including failing to correctly read an electronic chart on the ship, sailing in fog so thick that he could see only 200 feet ahead and sailing at an unsafe speed. Cota faced seven federal charges for spilling oil and killing federally protected birds. [8]

On 6 March 2009, Cota negotiated a plea agreement with prosecutors to federal water pollution and migratory bird killing charges. [9] The agreement called for him to serve two to ten months in prison and included a fine between $3,000 and $30,000. On 10 July, he was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment. [10]

On 19 September 2011, federal, state, and local agencies announced a final comprehensive civil settlement for $44.4 million. It included the following:

Bay Area impact

Containment booms languish about the shores and wetlands of Crissy Field. Oil spill in san francisc bay 1.jpg
Containment booms languish about the shores and wetlands of Crissy Field.

The tidal mechanics of San Francisco Bay caused the spill to spread rapidly, affecting a large area of the California North Coast, including the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Ocean Beach and the Marin Headlands. [11]

More than 50 public beaches were closed, including Crissy Field, Fort Point, Baker Beach, China Beach and Kirby Cove.

By 14 November 2007, beaches as far south as Pacifica, California, had been closed due to the spill. [12]

Richmond's shoreline and wildlife were seriously affected by the spill. Beaches and shorelines were closed, but later reopened. However, access was still restricted as of December 2007. [13] The government organizations responsible for the cleanup response and recovery devoted much effort to the East Bay and Rodeo Beach since they were the areas most impacted. The Rodeo Beach and Albany Beach segments were the last ones to be signed off as cleaned because of the additional maintenance and monitoring that were required.

Environmental

A Contra Costa county sign in Richmond Marina Bay warns of shoreline closure due to oil contamination. Richmond marina bay shore closure - oil spill.jpg
A Contra Costa county sign in Richmond Marina Bay warns of shoreline closure due to oil contamination.

According to the federal and state natural resource trustee agencies, the spill is estimated to have killed 6,849 birds. 2,519 were collected: 1,084 were collected alive (789 of which died; 295 of which were rehabilitated and released) and 1,856 were collected dead. [14] About 200 miles (320 km) of coastline, incorporating 3,367 acres, was oiled. The eggs laid by herring, which typically enter the bay in December, were killed in areas affected by the spill. It is estimated that 14 to 29% of the herring spawn in winter 2007-8 were lost due to the spill. [15]

Economic

Several fisheries in the Bay Area may have been affected by the spill and the crab and sport fishing seasons were postponed by several weeks. [16] As of 30 November, State biologists had tested more than 1100 samples of fish, mussels and Dungeness crab in San Francisco Bay and coastal waters outside the Golden Gate. The tests found unsafe levels of contaminants in mussels from Rodeo Beach and the Berkeley pier.

An estimated 1,079,900 recreational use days were also lost as a result of the spill. This includes general shoreline use as well as recreational fishing and boating.

Total monetary damages were estimated at $2.1 million for the ship, $1.5 million for the bridge's fender, and more than $70 million for oil spill cleanup. [4]

Volunteering

Initial official releases from public agencies warned against involvement of volunteers, and worked to deflect volunteers into non-contact activities. This included asking people to act as drivers for bird transport, or as support staff to other efforts. The U.S. Coast Guard directed volunteers to clean non-oiled beaches. [17]

For the first few days OSHA rules were interpreted as requiring HAZWOPER certification, a minimum of 24 hours of classroom time, before involvement in any effort that may result in oil contact. Eventually, and after significant pressure from would-be volunteers, a four-hour "Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Certification" subset of the course was offered. [18] OSHA rules require exactly 240 minutes of classroom time, and the certification is valid for only one incident, e.g., this oil spill.

Cleanup timeline

M/V Cosco Busan departing San Francisco under its new name, MSC Hanjin Venezia approaching the Golden Gate Bridge. Repairs visible on her port side Cosco Busan 2007-12-20.jpg
M/V Cosco Busan departing San Francisco under its new name, MSC Hanjin Venezia approaching the Golden Gate Bridge. Repairs visible on her port side

Ad-hoc volunteers were discouraged from cleaning beaches during the early days following the spill, as government workers and private contractor The O'Brien's Group handled the official disaster response. On 11 November 2007, cleanup and reports were focused on damage assessment of Cosco Busan. [19] Oil-soaked birds were put in boxes and driven to the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center in Fairfield to be rehabilitated by University of California, Davis, veterinary medical students, and as of 25 November, some birds were returned to the wild. [20]

Aftermath

On 21 December 2007, the Cosco Busan, having been renamed the Hanjin Venezia, sailed out of San Francisco Bay en route to Busan, South Korea, with a new crew working her decks. [21] US$1.5 million in repairs were completed to the bridge fender, three weeks ahead of schedule and $500,000 under budget around the same time. [22]

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Exxon Valdez</i> oil spill 1989 industrial disaster in Alaska

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker owned by Exxon Shipping Company that was bound for Long Beach, California struck Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef, 1.5 mi (2.4 km) west of Tatitlek, Alaska at 12:04 a.m. and spilled 10.8 million US gallons (257,000 bbl) of crude oil over the next few days.

San Francisco Bay Shallow estuary on the coast of California, United States

San Francisco Bay is a shallow estuary in the U.S. state of California. It is surrounded by a contiguous region known as the San Francisco Bay Area, and is dominated by the large cities of San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.

Richardson Bay arm of San Francisco Bay

Richardson Bay is a shallow, ecologically rich arm of San Francisco Bay, managed under a Joint Powers Agency of four northern California cities. The 911-acre (369 ha) Richardson Bay Sanctuary was acquired in the early 1960s by the National Audubon Society. The bay was named for William A. Richardson, early 19th century sea captain and builder in San Francisco. It contains both Strawberry Spit and Aramburu Island.

Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline is a 295-acre (1.19 km2) bayside park near the Brickyard Cove neighborhood of the Point Richmond District in Richmond, California.

San Francisco Baykeeper is a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization that works to protect, preserve, and enhance the health of the ecosystems and communities that depend upon the San Francisco Bay. Since 1989, Baykeeper has stood guard over the waters of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and its watershed. These waters, in addition to their recreational value and biological productivity, also provide drinking water for more than 23 million people and serve as the cornerstone of California's economy. Beginning in the high reaches of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains, the Bay-Delta watershed encompasses the entire Bay Area and the Great Central Valley of California. This vast watershed includes virtually all of the state's remaining coastal wetlands and provides rare and fragile habitat for marine mammals, migrating birds, and California's few remaining endangered salmon runs.

SS <i>Cape Mohican</i> (T-AKR-5065)

The SS Cape Mohican (T-AKR-5065) is a steam turbine powered heavy-lift SEABEE barge carrier, one of two ships of her type in the Military Sealift Command's Ready Reserve Force.

<i>Hanjin Venezia</i>

Hanjin Venezia, formerly named the Cosco Busan, is a 275 m (902 ft) container ship. On 7 November 2007, it collided with the protective fender of the Delta Tower of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in heavy fog. The collision sliced open two of its fuel tanks and led to the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay. She was renamed the Hanjin Venezia after the accident.

O'Brien's Response Management is the largest oil spill management company in the United States

Bay Bridge oil spill may refer to:

<i>Morris J. Berman</i> oil spill Oil spill on the shores of San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Morris J. Berman oil spill occurred on January 7, 1994, when the Morris J. Berman, a single-hull 302-foot-long barge, with the capacity to carry more than 3 million gallons of oil, collided with a coral reef near San Juan, Puerto Rico, causing the release of 750,000 gallons of heavy grade oil. The spill affected the tourism and fishing industries as well as wildlife along the shores of Puerto Rico, Isla de Culebra, and Isla de Vieques. The spill had major long-lasting impacts on the biological and natural resources of the entire Puerto Rican area. This spill was also the first to occur in U.S. waters after the passing of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

MV <i>Jessica</i>

MV Jessica was an oil tanker that was involved in an oil spill in the Galápagos Islands, a chain of islands 972 km (525 nmi) west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part. The ship was registered in Ecuador and owned by Acotramar. On the evening of 16 January 2001, Jessica ran aground at Wreck Bay, at the entrance to the port of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galápagos Province, located on the southwestern coast of San Cristóbal Island. The ship was carrying 600 tons of diesel oil and 300 tons of intermediate fuel oil. The diesel was destined for the fuel dispatch station on Baltra Island, while the fuel oil was destined for the tourist vessel Galapagos Explorer.

Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun is the California state agency responsible for licensing and regulating pilots within one of the largest harbors in the world and the tributary Sacramento River delta. It licenses and regulates up to 60 pilots of the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association. They are called "bar pilots" because they maneuver ships across a large and dangerous sand bar just outside the Golden Gate at the mouth of San Francisco Bay.

<i>Rena</i> oil spill

The Rena oil spill occurred off the coast of Tauranga, New Zealand in October 2011. The spill was caused by the grounding of MV Rena on the Astrolabe Reef. The Rena was a container ship and cargo vessel owned by the Greek shipping company Costamare Inc., through one of its subsidiary companies Daina Shipping. The spill has been described as New Zealand's worst maritime environmental disaster.

<i>Amoco Cadiz</i> oil spill Oil spill near coast of Brittany

The oil tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground on Portsall Rocks, 2 km (1.2 mi) from the coast of Brittany, France, on 16 March 1978, and ultimately split in three and sank, all together resulting in the largest oil spill of its kind in history to that date.

The 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill occurred when two Standard Oil Company of California tankers, the Arizona Standard and the Oregon Standard, collided on January 18, 1971, in the San Francisco Bay. The resulting 800,000 gallon spill, the largest in Bay Area history, threatened sensitive natural habitats both inside and outside the bay, including the Bolinas Lagoon, and contributed to the growth of activism against pollution, after thousands of bay area residents volunteered to clean up beaches and rescue oil soaked birds. A number of environmental organizations had their origins in the spill cleanup. Standard Oil spent more than $1 million in the clean-up.

Craig Bone United States Coast Guard admiral

Rear Admiral (ret.) Craig E. Bone is a former government executive under President George W. Bush, playing a key role in the forwarding of maritime domain awareness works, inter alia the container security initiative and implementation of the Maritime Transportation Security Act, as part of the wider Global Maritime Intelligence Integration Plan of this administration.

International Bird Rescue is a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates injured aquatic birds, most notably seabirds affected by oil spills. Founded by Ecology Action personnel and veterinarian James Michael Harris, D.V.M. in 1971 and based in Cordelia, California, the group has developed scientifically-based bird rehabilitation techniques and has led oiled wildlife rescue efforts in more than 200 oil spills worldwide, including the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where International Bird Rescue co-managed oiled bird rehabilitation efforts in four states with Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research.

The MV Treasure oil spill occurred on 23 June 2000, when the ship sank six miles off the coast of South Africa while transporting iron ore from China to Brazil. The ship was carrying an estimated 1,300 tons of fuel oil, some of which spilled into the ocean, threatening the African penguin populations living on nearby islands. Cleanup efforts began promptly after the incident with particular attention being paid to salvaging the penguin communities.

Refugio oil spill oil spill in Refugio State Beach, California

The Refugio oil spill on May 19, 2015, deposited 142,800 U.S. gallons of crude oil onto one of the most biologically diverse coastlines of the West Coast of the United States. The corroded pipeline blamed for the spill has been closed indefinitely, resulting in financial impacts to the county estimated as high as $74 million as it and a related pipeline remained out of service for three years. The cost of the cleanup was estimated by the company to be $96 million with overall expenses including expected legal claims and potential settlements to be around $257 million.

Aramburu Island Island in California

Aramburu Island (ah-ram-boo-ru) is a 17-acre (6.9 ha) island in Richardson Bay, Marin County, California. It, along with Strawberry Spit, came to exist in the 1950s and 1960s as a consequence of dumping dredged material from nearby developments into the bay. In the 1980s, the northern part of the landmass was cut off from Strawberry Spit on the directions of a Marin County supervisor to prevent housing from being constructed there, creating Aramburu Island. While natural erosion processes caused it to shrink slowly over the course of subsequent decades, a 2010s restoration effort added large amounts of material to prevent further erosion, and turned it into "sustainable bird habitat".

References

  1. John Upton (27 May 2009). "Prisoners of the COSCO Busan". The East Bay Express. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  2. John Upton (5 November 2009). "Old Bridge Bumper Technology Means Future Oil Spills Likely". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  3. Marshall, Carolyn (10 November 2007). "Oil Spill Spreads in San Francisco Bay". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 Rosenker, Mark V.; Sumwalt, Robert L.; Higgins, Kathryn O'Leary; Hersman, Deborah A. P. (18 February 2009). "Marine Accident Report: Allision of Hong Kong-Registered Containership M/V Cosco Busan with the Delta Tower of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, San Francisco, California, November 7, 2007" (PDF). NTSB/MAR-09/01. National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 27 February 2021.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. Diethard Kersandt (August 2008). "San Francisco Bay Bridge Allision". Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  6. Emergency Response Division, Office of Response and Restoration, National Ocean Service (2010). "M/V Cosco Busan". IncidentNews. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce. Archived from the original on 6 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. Bob Egelko (24 July 2008). "Felony Charges for Ship's Management". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  8. Carl Nolte (24 October 2008). "Oil Spill Ship Pilot Found at Fault in Accident". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  9. Elias, Paul (6 March 2009). "Captain involved in SF oil spill pleads guilty". Fox News. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  10. Staff writers (20 July 2009). "What's The Buzz?". The Cunningham Report. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  11. Ingrid Taylar. "San Francisco Bay Oil Spill Map". About.com. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  12. "Pacifica Beaches Closed". Pacifica Tribune. Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  13. Oil Spill Information Archived 6 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine , City of Richmond website, retrieved 18 December 2007
  14. Steve Hampton; Greg Baker; Al Donner (February 2008). "Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the COSCO Busan Oil Spill Bird Injury Summary" (PDF). California Office of Spill Prevention and Response. Retrieved 13 August 2010.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. Steve Hampton; Greg Baker; Al Donner (January 2008). "Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Planning for the COSCO Busan Oil Spill" (PDF). California Office of Spill Prevention and Response. Retrieved 13 August 2010.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. Brian Hoffman (10 November 2007). "The spill threatens to delay opening of crab season". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  17. Public Affairs USCG District 11: Non-oiled beaches in need of clean up Archived 21 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine , 12 November 2007
  18. Robert Selna; Heather Knight; Jonathan Curiel; Jane Kay (13 November 2007). "Volunteers Rush Through Training, Start Cleanup". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  19. Jane Kay (11 November 2007). "Bay Cleanup Efforts Expanding". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  20. University of California, Davis (12 November 2007). "Oiled-bird Being Rescued in San Francisco". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  21. Marisa Lagos (21 December 2007). "Patched-up Cosco Busan Sails Out of Bay, Lawsuits in its Wake". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  22. Staff writers (22 December 2007). "Bay Bridge Fender Repaired Ahead of Schedule". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 12 May 2010.