8:25 PM: The owner and operator of an oil tanker that leaked more than 400 gallons of fuel into the San Francisco Bay in 2009 have agreed to pay nearly $2 million in damages and penalties for the spill, local and state officials announced today.
Early on the morning of Oct. 30, 2009, the tanker Dubai Star leaked the bunker fuel into the water south of the Bay Bridge after linking with a fueling barge.
The problem was a valve that failed, allowing 422 gallons of fuel to overflow onto the ship’s deck and over into the Bay. The spill ended up causing the deaths of 113 seabirds and impacted more than 200 acres of shoreline in Alameda County, authorities said.
The district attorney’s offices from Alameda and San Francisco counties and the state Department of Fish and Game negotiated the $1.96 million settlement with the operator of the vessel, Dubai-based Pioneer Ship Management Services, and its owner, South Harmony Shipping, based in Panama.
The settlement was filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday and announced at a news conference along San Francisco’s waterfront this afternoon.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon called the agreement “the right economic settlement to make sure we fix the wrongs that were done.”
About $1.4 million of the settlement will address damage to natural resources and the costs of the response to the spill, while civil penalties make up the other $550,000.
O’Malley added, “This settlement will place shipping companies on notice that negligent ship practices like those that led to the Dubai Star spill will not be tolerated in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
Investigators determined that along with the mechanical valve failure, there were also electronic and human failures that led to the spill, including alarms that did not sound and a crewmember assigned to the deck who did not see the oil spilling into the Bay.
Among the projects that will be funded by money from the settlement include ones benefiting birds and shoreline habitats at the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary and ones benefiting public recreation at Alameda County’s Crown Beach, a part of the shoreline most affected by the spill.
The shoreline was back to normal within a year of the spill, said Michael Anderson, a senior toxicologist with the Department of Fish and Game.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News
11:42 AM: The owner and operator of an oil tanker that leaked more than 400 gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay in 2009 will pay nearly $2 million to local and state authorities in a settlement that will be discussed at a news conference today.
The tanker Dubai Star leaked the fuel into the water south of the Bay Bridge during a bunkering operation with a fuel barge early the morning of Oct. 30, 2009.
The spill killed dozens of birds and other wildlife, and affected a lengthy stretch of Alameda County’s shoreline.
The district attorneys’ offices from Alameda and San Francisco counties and the state Department of Fish and Game negotiated a $1.96 million settlement with the operator of the vessel, Dubai-based Pioneer Ship Management Services, and its owner, South Harmony Shipping, based in Panama.
The settlement was filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday, according to San Francisco District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman.
Details of the settlement will be released at a 1 p.m. news conference on the San Francisco waterfront today. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley are scheduled to participate.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News