San Francisco - (Disaster Mess): Coast Guard officials are tight-lipped about whether the captain and crew of the stricken Cosco Busan ship which smashed into Bay Bridge have been breathalysed amid growing panic of a copycat Exxon-Valdez fiasco.
The Hanjin Shipping 65,131-ton cargo container hull was ripped to shreds and its 58,000 gallon tanks emptied into the San Francisco Bay waters on Wednesday.
The spillage has now engulfed the former Alcatraz prison island after the flow spread from the site of the second tower west of Yerba Buena Island where the disaster took place.
The Cosco was en route from Oakland to South Korea and had just left the dock on the Oakland estuary west of Jack London Square.
"It's a simple enough manuver," Coast Guard sources said, "especially if the navigator is sober.
"That's not to imply anything but at this stage we're taking no chances."
Fears of a drunk at the helm of the Cosco seem rational enough given the magnitude of the 1989 Exxon-Valxed disaster when hundreds of millions of gallons of crude were spilled into the waters of Prince William Sound because the tanker's navigator was totally smashed at the wheel.
Governor Schwarzenegger has declared a major emergency.