Coast Guard Investigates Oil Slick, Bird Rescue Underway
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ An offshore oil slick that harmed more than 300 birds appears to be breaking up, but two new patches of oil have been reported off the California coast, Coast Guard investigators said.
The first slick, measuring 15 yards wide and nearly two miles long, was discovered Saturday about 13 miles west of Point Ano Nuevo and 25 miles south of San Francisco, said Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Patrick Trapp.
One of the new spills, which were discovered Sunday, was near Pescadero Point, about 20 miles south of San Francisco, he said. The second, about 200 yards in diameter, was about eight miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Trapp said quarter-sized globs of oil have washed up on beaches and the Coast Guard said Sunday that more than 300 birds had been injured by the oil.
The slicks could have been caused by a ship pumping out its bilges, Trapp said. Analysis of oil samples could help determine whether a ship created the slicks, he said.
It is illegal to dump anything overboard within three miles of shore, said Coast Guard Lt. Steve Boyle.
At the Peninsula Humane Society, volunteers were called in to help more than 200 oil-coated sea birds that washed up on a 90-mile stretch of beach, said wildlife service manager Sandi Stadler.
″It’s just awful,″ she said. ″They are covered. There are hardly any of them that have just a speckle.″