Jacob Luckenbach


map showing spill location along the SF Bay Area coast
Spill Location.
(click to enlarge)
oiled bird held in a white towel
  • 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

Restoration Plan



Restoration Project Monitoring Reports

Seabird Protection Network

Nest Protection at Kokechik Flats, Alaska

Grebe Colony Protection

Sooty Shearwater Restoration in New Zealand

Corvid Management in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Haida Gwaii Rat Eradication Project

Corvid Management at Point Reyes

Año Nuevo Island Rhinoceros Auklet Restoration


Laird Henkel
Email: Laird.Henkel@wildlife.ca.gov
Phone: (831) 469-1726

Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Mailing: P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 375-8580 for OSPR Information

Report Oil Spills
(800) 852-7550 or (800) OILS-911

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