Posted in California Maritime News on January 15, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — According to officials, an empty oil tanker from the Marshall Islands caused minor damage on Monday, Jan.7, after it struck a tower in the middle of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge while navigating beneath the hulking span.
According to the Coast Guard and state transportation officials, the accident occurred about 11:20 a.m. when the 752-foot Overseas Reymar from the Marshall Islands rammed the tower on its way out to sea.
OSG Ship Management Inc., the parent company that owns the ship, said the accident occurred as the vessel hit an underwater portion of the massive bridge structure.
“There’s always the human factor,” Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Shawn Lansing said. “That is again what we’ll look into and see whether, in fact, it was a human error or something else and take that into consideration in the development of future regulation.”
Visibility at the time of the collision was about a quarter-mile, but officials didn’t say if that was a factor.
Lansing went on to say that the crew and captain of the ship will undergo drug and alcohol testing, per federal regulations and that inspectors also will examine the hull of the ship above and below water.
Coast Guard authorities said no oil or hazardous materials were reported to have leaked into the water. Still, officials spread 4,000 feet of absorbent material on the water to be safe.
There were no reports of any injuries to crew members who were on the ship at the time of the accident.
“There is some damage to the vessel, but nothing that poses a danger to anybody,” Scott said. “A fire boat is out there to make sure it stays that way, and it should.”
The tanker docked west of Yerba Buena Island immediately following the crash, and the pilot was being interviewed by both the Coast Guard and the California Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun, which regulates bar pilots.
State law requires a bar pilot to guide every large vessel – be it a luxury liner, a billionaire’s yacht, aircraft carrier or cargo ship – in, out and around the San Francisco Bay.
The incident remains under investigation at this time.