Shipyard crews in San Francisco are working on patching up the container ship Cosco
Busan, which was damaged when it ran into the Bay Bridge on Nov. 7.
The accident tore a 200-ft. long gash in the side of the ship and ripped open several fuel and ballast tanks, spilling 58,000 gallons of bunker oil into San Francisco Bay
. The spill fouled beaches and killed or injured more than 2,700 birds.
San Francisco customs officers put what's known as a surety hold on the ship to guarantee that the Cosco Busan stays
in port until financial and other assurances relating to the accident and the oil spill are met.
In addition, the ship cannot sail until repairs satisfy the U.S. Coast Guard, according to Coast Guard spokesman Dan Dewell. Under U.S. maritime law, the Coast Guard has the authority to inspect ships for seaworthiness before they leave an American port.
The ship has been in the BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair yard
for almost two weeks. Before it was taken to the yard, all of the Cosco Busan's cargo was unloaded, which means that the ship is now riding high out of the water. It is not in dry dock; the gash is above its current water line.
The repairs consist of welding steel to the side of the ship to make sure the vessel can withstand operation in the open sea.
The patch is 230 x 14 ft. and will use 100,000 pounds of steel. While authorities had previously reported that the gash was 100 to 160 feet long, maritime executives overseeing the repair say it is actually 200 feet.
It is not clear whether the ship will undergo more permanent repair in San Francisco or be taken to an Asian shipyard for more work.
Source: SF Gate