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M/V Cosco Busan

Oil Spill | San Francisco, California | November 2007

What Happened?

The container ship M/V Cosco Busan struck one of the towers of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on the morning of November 7, 2007. The impact tore a large gash in the hull of the vessel, releasing 53,000 gallons of fuel oil into the water. The oil quickly spread to other parts of the Bay and the outer coast (north and south of the Golden Gate Bridge), washing ashore along many miles of sensitive coastline.

What Were the Impacts?

The spill caused significant impacts to fish, wildlife, habitat, and human recreational uses:

  • Birds: An estimated 6,849 birds were killed. Sixty-five species were affected, including diving ducks, cormorants, and the threatened marbled murrelet and snowy plover.
  • Fish: An estimated 14 to 29 percent of the winter 2008 herring spawn was lost due to widespread impacts to eggs and young fish.
  • Shoreline Habitat: More than 3,000 acres of shoreline habitat were oiled. Recovery is expected to range from a few months to several years.
  • Human Uses: The spill and its aftermath closed the Bay and area beaches to recreation and fishing. More than one million user-days One person's use of a recreational resource (e.g., beach, park, etc.) for any portion of a day. were lost.

What's Happening Now?

The Trustees reached a settlement with the ship’s owner and operator in September 2011, and finalized a Restoration Plan in March 2012. More than $32 million in settlement funds will finance restoration projects. Projects include:

  • Habitat improvements at Muir Beach, Albany Beach, Aramburu Island
  • Creation and improvement of bird roosting and nesting habitat on the Berkeley Pier, Tule Lake, Farallon Islands, and South Bay Salt Ponds
  • Eelgrass, rockweed, and oyster bed restoration at multiple sites around the Bay
  • Recreational use improvements throughout the spill area, including improvements to docks and public access as well as education programs

View the January 2016 project status update. 



An approximate 100-foot gash in the hull of the vessel resulted in a 53,000 gallon fuel oil spill.
An approximate 100-foot gash in the hull of the vessel resulted in a 53,000 gallon fuel oil spill.

"The repercussions from this  oil spill led to many changes in how we prepare for, respond to, and assess effects from such incidents in the Bay Area, the state, and even nationally.”

Dr. Rob Ricker, Branch Chief
NOAA's Assessment and Restoration Division


Natalie Cosentino-Manning
NOAA Restoration Center
Santa Rosa, CA
(707) 575-6081

Last updated August 24, 2020