Coast Guard asks San Francisco harbor safety committee to review Critical Maneuvering Areas

The following is the text of press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:

(SAN FRANCISCO) — The U.S. Coast Guard has completed interviews, evidence collection, and a thorough safety inspection onboard the oil tanker Overseas Reymar which has been anchored in San Francisco Bay’s Anchorage 7 since the vessel’s allision with a support tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Monday morning. 

Coast Guard inspectors and representatives from the vessel’s Flag State have determined the Overseas Reymar is safe to sail.  This determination was based on a careful assessment of the vessel’s structural damage, and the inspection and testing of critical propulsion, auxiliary, navigation, safety, and environmental protection systems.   The ship is expected to depart from San Francisco Bay with tug escort at approximately 10 a.m. Friday.  The tanker will require repairs before returning to service.

Although evidence collection onboard the Overseas Reymar is complete, the Coast Guard's investigation into the incident continues.  Dr. Barry Strauch of the National Transportation Safety Board has joined the investigation.

While the investigation may require several months to complete, the Coast Guard has immediately engaged local maritime stakeholders to identify potential safety improvements in the wake of this incident.  For example, Coast Guard Capt. Cyndi Stowe, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, Thursday called on the Harbor Safety Committee of the San Francisco Bay Region to conduct a swift review of the Critical Maneuvering Areas (CMAs) established in the wake of the 2007 Cosco Busan incident.   

Nine CMAs were designated by the Harbor Safety Committee in 2008.  In accordance with CMA guidelines, vessels 1,600 gross tons or larger should not transit a CMA if visibility is less than one-half nautical mile.  Stowe asked the committee to review the CMAs with a particular focus on the Bay Bridge which is not currently included.

The Overseas Reymar, a 752-foot Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker, allided with tower six, also known as the “echo” tower, of the Bay Bridge as it was heading out to sea.

The Coast Guard and other agencies immediately dispatched response assets to the scene, which included Coast Guard response boats, a cutter, and helicopter as well as additional resources from other federal, state, and local agencies.  There was no pollution as a result of the allision.

By Professional Mariner Staff