58,000 Gallon Oil Spill In San Francisco Bay

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Photo Credit: By Brocken Inaglory - commons.wikipedia.org

58,000 gallons of oil spilled into the San Francisco Bay on Wednesday morning, after a cargo ship hit the base of one of the towers of the Bay Bridge, causing a tear in the side of the ship and rupturing its fuel tanks.

The accident was caused by "human error", which means someone in the ship made a mistake. Investigators are still trying to find out what happened. The fog was unusually heavy that day and the tide had just turned; causing experts to believe that could be the reason for the crash. Though thousands of ships pass under the Bay Bridge each year, this is the first time an accident like this has happened in the 70-years the bridge span has been there. This is also the biggest oil spill in this area in 20 years.

Whatever the cause, the results are devastating (shocking). To begin with the oil that spilled was heavy-duty bunker fuel oil which, is the worst kind of oil. It is very hard to clean and takes years to disintegrate (break down). This means that the bay area marine life may be affected for many many years.

To make matters worse, this is prime migration season, when thousands of birds fly from Canada to the Bay Area. Scientists say about 150,000 ducks from Canada have just flown over to spend the winter in the warmer, richly preserved San Francisco Bay.

The oil has also reached the Farallon Islands where over 200,000 mures (seabirds) migrate this time every year. The Point Bonita area is home to thousands of harbor seals who may also be affected. The furry sea lions that entertain thousands of tourists at Fisherman's Wharf every day could also be in danger.

Photo of the damage to the MV Hanjin Venezia, former COSCO Busan, after striking the San Francisco Bay Bridge (Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard - commons.wikipedia.org)

The reason furry animals and birds are both very susceptible is not just due to the oil fumes which are deadly, but also, because when the oil coats their skin, it causes them to get cold and they leave the water. Because of the high metabolism of these animals, they need to eat regularly. Once they get out of the water, they do not eat enough and hence die. Also, if the birds preen (clean and straighten) their feathers, they could get poisoned.

Scientists believe the effects of the oil spill could last for months and possibly years, and may completely change the ecosystem of this beautiful area. The only positive thing we can say about this disaster is that so many people in the Bay Area called offering to help that they had to shut down the volunteer phone line for a few hours.

Click on the video below to see how the birds are being rescued:

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165 Comments
  • atsaraMonday, September 9, 2019 at 10:37 am
    jk i feel really bad for all the animals being affected by the oil
    • No unfortunatelMonday, May 6, 2019 at 7:24 pm
      I feel so bad for the poor birds they are just going for A break and now they are in box going somewhere I hope they get better soon 😫😭
      • nickMonday, April 29, 2019 at 9:07 am
        old oil can kill more anamals
        • nickMonday, April 29, 2019 at 9:05 am
          I Like anamals
          • nickMonday, April 29, 2019 at 9:03 am
            4th grade not cool man
            • CoolMonday, April 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm
              I feel bad for the animals. 🦆
              • CheesecakeMonday, April 22, 2019 at 6:58 am
                When I think about oil spills, it reminds me of all the animals that sadly die and the big mess it makes, and it makes me want to cry💦😭😥. So let’s hope that there are no more oil spills.
                • CupcakeMonday, April 22, 2019 at 6:55 am
                  Omg this oil spill is a super bad one. My class in school wrote a letter to a the sentor about the oil spill. What are y’all going to do if you live in GA. Savanna GA has found oil on the beach’s so let’s hope for the best
                  • Pickle RickTuesday, April 16, 2019 at 5:03 am
                    That is straight cold bro not cool homey
                    • cheese_awesome
                      cheese_awesomeThursday, April 11, 2019 at 5:21 pm
                      That's bad news