Cosco Busan cleared to set sail

December 20, 2007

UPDATE: The Cosco Busan indeed did sail out of San Francisco Bay the morning of Thursday, Dec. 20. 

The cargo ship that spilled thousands of gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay in November is ready to set sail. The damage to the ship’s hull from when the tanker struck a protective barrier around a tower of the Bay Bridge has been repaired, and all legal and administrative measures that had kept the vessel from leaving have been cleared.

As of this writing, the ship appears to be at anchor south of the Bay Bridge, according to the SF Bay ship-tracking Web site BoatingSF. Earlier this morning the pilot boat Golden G8 pulled alongside the Cosco Busan, but high tide just inside the bay was at 7:30 a.m. and at the San Francisco bar (a big sand bar just seaward of the Golden Gate) it was at 6:55. The low tide this afternoon is pretty low — minus 0.53 feet at 2 p.m at the bar — so unless they leave soon, even if the Cosco Busan is empty of cargo it’s possible that the ship will not exit the bay until later. That’s just speculation on my part, though, as I’m not familiar with the shipping channels in detail.

The next high tide at the bar is at 9:02 p.m., then again Friday morning at 7:41.

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