Oil tanker Overseas Reymar hits San Francisco’s Bay Bridge

The oil tanker Overseas Reymar struck “a glancing blow” to a tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after unloading crude at a Royal Dutch Shell refinery the day before.

The collision occurred at 11:20 a.m. local time, the U.S. Coast Guard said in an e-mailed statement. No oil was released, a notice to the California Emergency Management Agency shows.

The tanker was damaged above the waterline, with no breach of the hull, said Captain Peter McIsaac, port agent for the San Francisco Bar Pilots. The Bay Bridge’s “fendering system,” made of timbers and steel backing to cushion impacts, was also damaged, he said. All lanes on the bridge remain open to vehicle traffic.

The collision was “not a direct hit, more of a glancing blow, from looking at the damage,” McIsaac said by telephone from San Francisco.

A state Transportation Department inspection team found no structural or foundation damage to the bridge, the Coast Guard said.

“Obviously, public safety is our No. 1 priority and, if for some reason there’s an issue with the bridge, we will take corrective actions to make sure that the public is safe,” Traci Ruth, a Transportation Department spokeswoman in Oakland, said by telephone.

The Overseas Reymar is moored west of Yerba Buena Island between Berkeley and San Francisco. It has a total deadweight of 69,636 tons when full, and was bound for Esmeraldas, Ecuador, according to IHS Inc. data. The vessel was scheduled to arrive there Jan. 17.

The tanker had unloaded about 350,000 barrels of crude at Royal Dutch Shell’s 158,000-barrel-a-day Martinez refinery before leaving the plant’s wharf at 10 p.m. local time yesterday, Kimberly Windon, a Shell spokeswoman in Houston, said by e-mail.

The Overseas Reymar passed west of Berkeley earlier today before crashing into the Bay Bridge, according to IHS. ConocoPhillips chartered the tanker in April to carry crude oil from South and Central America to the U.S. West Coast, the data show.

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker is owned by OSG Ship Management U.K., according to the Coast Guard. Windon said the Coast Guard had previously said the ship was owned by Norton Lilly International.

A container ship, the Cosco Busan, slammed into the Bay Bridge in 2007, spilling 53,000 gallons of oil. The vessel’s pilot was under the influence of various prescription drugs and had a history of sleep apnea and a drunken driving arrest when he ran the ship into the bridge in heavy fog, the National Transportation Safety Board said in February 2009.

The Coast Guard is investigating today’s crash, Petty Officer Pamela Boehland said by telephone from Alameda, California. The safety board is “monitoring the situation,” Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the agency in Washington, said by telephone.