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Press Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, Public Information Officer, City Manager's Office, (510) 981-7008

Marina closed to incoming and outgoing boat traffic; more soiled birds arrive on beaches and HazMat teams called to help with cleanup

Berkeley, California (Friday, November 09, 2007) - Friday morning's incoming tide brought more oil globules and soiled birds into the Berkeley Marina and surrounding parks, leading to the closure of the Marina. Boats are not being allowed in or out of the Marina, and residents and visitors are being warned by the City’s Environmental Health Division that the shoreline is contaminated and they should keep people and pets away from the beaches and the water.

     The Berkeley Fire Department's Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Team brought booms and other absorbent materials to the Marina to help with the cleanup. Marina staff and the entire HazMat team, made up of eight firefighters, responded to clean the water and the shore. Efforts are expected to continue all day and possibly into the weekend.

     "It's hard to predict how long the cleanup will be, or how long the effects will linger," said Acting Waterfront Manager Ann Hardinger. "A lot depends on just how much the ocean can take."

     High tide for Berkeley was at 10:45 a.m. today, with low tide predicted at 5:38 p.m. It is hoped that the tide will take some of the oil and tar pollution away from the shore.

     At least two dozen more birds, dirty with oil and tar debris, were found on the Cesar Chavez Park side of the Marina. The City of Berkeley is working with the California State Parks and East Bay Regional Parks on the capture and care of the birds and any other wildlife that is discovered.

     Residents and visitors who see injured or oil-soiled birds should call the International Bird Rescue Research Center hotline at (877) 823-6926. Do not handle the birds! The oil is toxic. If you see birds, please call the hotline and report the birds number, location and type (if known). If you would like to volunteer to help the birds, please call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network volunteer hotline (800) 228-4544 or visit www.owcn.org.

     Although the overall health effects of the spill are likely to be negligible, Berkeley Health Officer Linda Rudolph, M.D., recommends people stay away from the shore and take the following precautions:

Avoid direct skin contact with the oil.
If you get oil on your skin, wash it off with soap and water; wash your hands before eating.
Do not eat fish that smell or taste of petroleum, or that are coated with oil.
     For up to date information about the COSCO Busan spill, visit the U.S. Coast Guard website at http://www.uscgsanfrancisco.com/go/site/823/.



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