A container ship larger than the Titanic collided with San Francisco’s Bay Bridge on Wednesday, tearing a 160-foot gash in its hull and spilling at least 58,000 gallons of oil. The leak nauseated some bystanders, closed down beaches and fishing, and could threaten the health of seals, birds, and other wildlife. The spilled substance, known as bunker oil, “tends to be rather heavy, and it doesn’t float as well as other oil. It’s harder to contain,” says Wil Bruhns, supervising engineer of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. Several agencies are looking into the accident, including the Coast Guard. “By our guidelines it is a medium-sized spill,” said Coast Guard Capt. William Uberti, captain of the Port of San Francisco and the investigation’s chief federal officer. “But in the San Francisco Bay Area, that is a big deal.” On a happier note, the bridge wasn’t damaged. So nauseated commuters have got that going for them.

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