Tar balls not from Busan
Large balls of tar that washed ashore throughout the coastal Bay Area this week is from naturally occurring oil seepage and not remnants from the November COSCO Busan oil spill, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.
The 902-foot-long Busan hit the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Nov. 7, tearing a 160-foot-long gash in the containership's hull and resulting in spilling more than 53,000 gallons of diesel fuel oil.
“It’s a natural phenomenon, not related to the oil spill,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Cilley said of the gooey softball-sized globs that washed up along the coast between Pacifica and Monterey. After tests on the tar by state scientists, the Coast Guard and environmental experts speculated that the tar probably seeped from fissures in naturally occurring deposits on the sea floor near Monterey, perhaps opened by the recent string of winter storms that hit the area.
Conducted by state Department of Fish and Game technicians at their Rancho Cordova laboratory, the test results confirmed the agency's initial feeling that the tar was from a natural deposit and not the Busan.
Beaches in San Mateo and Monterey counties, including Esplanade and Linda Mar beaches in Pacifica, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, Gray Whale Cove State Beach in Montara, were being cleaned by workers.