Workers continue cleaning the Albany Shoreline three weeks after the ship Cosco Busan spilled 58,000 gallons of fuel oil into the San Francisco Bay on Nov. 7. Photo by Linjun Fan.
Despite plans to complete work last weekend, crews are still cleaning the Albany shoreline after an inspection Monday resulted in more work ordered by the Unified Command.
“Their standards are changing everyday, ” said Darren Johnson, a supervisor of the O’Briens Group contracted to clean up the spill. “It’s political.”
Johnson said that it’s hard to satisfy cleanup assessment officials, who are under pressure from the large number of environmentalists in the Bay Area that want the tainted shoreline to look exactly like what it was before the oil spill.
Johnson complained that workers could only use rugs and scrapers as cleaning tools because they are not allowed to use any solvent or even hot water.
“It takes more manpower, and money, ” said Johnson.
Half of the current workforce of 80 will leave the shoreline in a week, but the other half will stay for the following several weeks, according to Johnson’s new schedule.
The workers are rubbing the tainted rocks by hand. They are not told how long they will stay, and they are not clear how much work remains to be done.
“Just rubbing the rocks, rub, rub and rub, ” said Marvin Burd, another supervisor of the cleanup team.
Pancake-sized oil sludges were washed onto the beach by high tides earlier this week. But there isn’t much visible oil spill at the shoreline on Wednesday. Only sporadic shiny spots on a few rocks reveal a recent oil spill.
The Albany Beach and other parts of the city’s shoreline remain closed.