Coast Guard: Phillips 66, ship owners responsible for September oil spills into San Pablo Bay


SAN PABLO (BCN) — Both Phillips 66 and the owners of the oil tanker Yamuna Spirit are responsible for a pair of oil sheens that spilled into San Pablo Bay last month, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The spills, on Sept. 20 and 21, were discovered in the waters near the refinery docks in Rodeo, where the ship was unloading its cargo of light Arabian crude oil.

Because Coast Guard investigators could not determine exactly where the oil leaked from, either the ship itself or the refinery’s dockside equipment, both companies will be responsible for the containment and clean-up costs, according to Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Megan Mervar.

“We suspect they will split the cost 50/50 because we weren’t able to find a path of discharge,” Mervar said. “It’s a vary rare, unique situation.”

Investigators were also not able to determine what exactly caused the spill.

Phillips 66 officials said in a statement that the company tested the refinery’s dockside equipment and found no evidence of any leaks.

“Phillips 66 will evaluate any relevant, additional information forthcoming from government agencies regarding the sheen,” company officials said.

The ship’s owner, Vancouver, Canada-based Teekay Corp., said the company conducted an extensive underwater examination of the Yamuna Spirit’s hull and found no leaks, and also found nothing amiss with the ship’s cargo lines during pressure tests.

“After extensive investigation and a successful completion of discharge, there is no evidence that the oil sheen originated from the Yamuna Spirit,” company officials said in a statement.

Coast Guard officials also said they found “no conclusive determination for the cause of the odor experienced in Vallejo the night of Sept. 20.”

The mysterious odor sickened many residents and resulted in hundreds of worried calls to the city.

No wildlife injuries or deaths were reported as a result of the spill, according to the Coast Guard.

The Yamuna Spirit is a Bahamas-based ship.

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