March 22, 2021

Bay Oil Spills: Never Again, and Again

Oil spills in San Francisco Bay are frequent news, but for those old enough to remember there is only one Great Oil Spill, the disaster of January 18, 1971. In a predawn darkness thickened by heavy fog, two small Chevron tankers were maneuvering through the strait. At San Francisco’s Pier 45, Coast Guard technicians were just then testing a novel radar system. They watched helplessly as two blips threatened to fuse into one. Frantic calls to the captains failed to get through.[1] The inbound Arizona Standard rammed its bow 40 feet into the outbound Oregon Standard, releasing more than a million gallons of heavy “Bunker C” fuel mixture — likely the worst spill in Bay history.[2] The San Francisco Bay...
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