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Incident News: T/V Dubai Star

Gulf of the Farralones National Marine Sanctuary

Office of Response and Restoration

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary: Just Beyond the Golden Gate, NOAA Protects a Unique Portion of the Pacific



NOS Responds to San Francisco Bay Oil Spill

Dubai Star leaking oil

Oil leaks from the Dubai Star. An estimated 400-800 gallons of fuel was spill into the waters around San Francisco Bay.

On October 30, the T/V Dubai Star suffered a rupture in one of its fuel lines, spilling 400-800 gallons of intermediate fuel oil into the waters of southern San Francisco Bay. NOS was on the scene with the U.S. Coast Guard and state and local responders, working to minimize impacts from the spill and moving towards cleanup and restoration activities.

The spill occurred almost exactly two years after San Francisco Bay shorelines were oiled from the M/V Cosco Busan spill. Though the Dubai Star spilled a relatively small volume of oil, the spill showed that the lessons learned from two years ago have led to proactive engagement with local governments and media, efficient on-water recovery operations, and effective deployment of protection strategies for sensitive areas.

The Office of Response and Restoration’s Emergency Response Division is providing scientific support for the incident, including spill trajectory modeling. The Assessment and Restoration Division is beginning to assess and plan for the restoration of impacted resources in the spill area.

Aerial view of spilled oil

An aerial view of oil spill from the Dubai Star on October 30. An assessement on November 3 showed no new visible oil on the water.

Additionally, the spill triggered response from staff and volunteers from the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, whose waters surround the City of San Francisco. Sanctuary staff and volunteers carried out emergency response Beach Watch-style surveys on five beaches just outside the Golden Gate. These early-response surveys act as pre-spill baseline assessments for the beaches likeliest to become oiled if the spill travels.

While shoreline cleanup remains active in the area, all on-water skimming operations were completed on November 3. Officials were encouraged that an aerial assessment late last week showed no new visible oil on the water. Shoreline cleanup remains active in the area and several beaches remained closed until further notice.