Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien Spills Fuel Into San Francisco Bay at Fisherman’s Wharf
BY MIKE SCHULER ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2014
SS Jeremiah O’Brien at San Francisco’s pier 45. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
The U.S. Coast Guard and California Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel continued Sunday to respond to a fuel oil spill from the SS Jeremiah O’Brien near Pier 45 at Fishman’s Wharf in the San Francisco Bay Saturday.
The U.S. Coast Guard was alerted Saturday morning that an undetermined amount of fuel oil was discharged into the water from the World War II-era Liberty Ship. First responders reported a 100-by-150-yard sheen in the vicinity of the vessel at Pier 45.
The SS Jeremiah O’Brien immediately contracted an Oil Spill Response Organization and as of Sunday over 6,000 feet of boom was deployed around the vessel and other at-risk or environmentally sensitive areas. Meanwhile cleanup crews used vacuum trucks and skimming vessels as part of the recovery efforts.
The Coast Guard reports that the source of the spill has been secured. A initial statement from the Coast Guard said that the spill reportedly occurred during an internal transfer of product onboard the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, but the incident is still under investigation.
An overflight of the area Sunday found no visible signs pollution, but the Coast Guard said a response team located a light sheen around the docks within Hyde Street Harbor.
The Coast Guard said Sunday that it federalized the pollution incident and assumed control of the clean up and containment processes to ensure maximum resources are utilized to accelerate the containment and cleanup effort. The oil spill response is being overseen by a Federal On-scene Coordinator’s Representative.
“The Coast Guard is committed to safeguarding the marine environment and has taken quick action to intervene and minimize the effects of the fuel spill caused by the SS Jeremiah O’Brien,” said Capt. Michael Day, Sector San Francisco deputy commander. “Our crews will work diligently alongside our partner agencies to ensure the fuel is cleaned from the water in an efficient and expeditious manner.”
The SS Jeremiah O’Brien is one of two remaining fully functional Liberty ships built and launched during World War II. The ship now serves as a tourist attraction at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.