California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Graphic California map showing the locations of Stuyvesant spillWarden holding an oiled bird in a white towel

S.S. Jacob Luckenbach Oil Spill

  • LOCATION: Gulf of the Farallones
  • DATE: Episodic, at least since 1992 and possibly since 1972, through 2003.
  • INCIDENT SUMMARY: The S.S. Jacob Luckenbach collided with its sister ship and sank on July 14, 1953. This vessel, which was loaded with 457,000 gallons of bunker fuel, sank in 180 feet of water approximately 17 miles west-southwest of San Francisco. It has been leaking sporadically over the years. In 2002, oil associated with several "mystery spills" was linked to this vessel. These include the Pt. Reyes Tarball Incidents of winter 1997-1998 and the San Mateo Mystery Spill of 2001-2002. In summer 2002, the U.S. Coast Guard and the trustees removed much oil from the vessel and sealed the remaining oil inside the vessel.
  • RESPONSIBLE PARTY: The responsible party associated with this shipwreck no longer exists. The Trustees requested funds for assessment and restoration from the National Pollution Funds Center.
  • NATURAL RESOURCE TRUSTEES: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • RESOURCES IMPACTED: Birds (51,569 estimated killed between 1990 and 2003, including 31,806 Common Murres and 45 Marbled Murrelets); sea otters (8 estimated killed).
  • SETTLEMENT DETAILS: The trustees were awarded $22.7 million from the National Pollution Funds Center to implement 14 restoration projects.
  • STATUS OF RESTORATION: Final Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan completed; restoration projects now in progress; see the Plan and News Updates below for details.

Available Documents

Contact Information

Steve Hampton
Phone: (916)-323-4724

Web: Contact Web Editor

Page Last Updated: February 5, 2014