Cleanup of Sheen Continues Near Dillon Beach, No Oiled Wildlife Spotted

By Bay City News Service

No oiled wildlife has been reported following the grounding of a vessel early Saturday morning near Dillon Beach in Marin County, officials in a unified command said Monday. 

Neither has marine habitat been damaged because the vessel American Challenger grounded at 1am on a rocky shoreline where it remained Monday evening.  

A tugboat was towing the 90-foot American Challenger from Puget Sound, Washington, when a rope got tangled in the tug’s propeller, setting the American Challenger adrift. 

The tug Hunter has since been brought to a pier in Sausalito where the owner is coordinating with the U.S. Coast Guard to make sure the boat gets inspected before departing. 

Marine surveyors have accessed American Challenger and were inspecting the fuel tanks to see how much, if any, pollution is on board. 

Teams surveying the shoreline reported minor sheening in the area near the American Challenger and along the shore adjacent to the boat. Teams are cleaning those areas and no other sheening was seen. 

Officials said brown foam has been washing up on Dillon Beach, but the foam is normal biological material. 

Crews have set up 4,000 feet of boom around American Challenger to protect marine wildlife like the oysters in Tomales Bay. A 100-foot gap exists in the boom to give recreational boaters access to the deepest point of the channel south and east of Hog Island. 

If the oyster beds become threatened, the gap will be closed, according to officials. 

All the beaches in the area are open, but Miller Boat Launch is closed temporarily to help with the emergency response efforts. The efforts to clean up the sheen is not affecting commercial boat traffic. 

If any oiled wildlife is seen, the public is asked to avoid approaching the animal and instead call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at (877) 823-6926.

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Bay City News Service journalists work around the clock to report on breaking news, traffic, weather, disasters, public events, crime, courts, government decisions, newsmakers and the local issues that matter to the San Francisco Bay Area’s nearly 8 million residents.
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