Coast Guard Defends Actions After Oil Spill

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Coast Guard is defending its response to Wednesday's massive oil spill in the San Francisco Bay.

The agency has come under criticism for a delay in telling local officials and the public of the seriousness of the spill. There was a lag time of several hours after the Guard learned that the spill was 58,000 gallons, not 140 gallons as initially reported.

A Coast Guard official says on the surface, it looks like the agency did everything "by the book." Still, he says, the Guard will conduct a full investigation.

Federal investigators have begun a criminal investigation into the spill, which happened last Wednesday when a Chinese container ship sideswiped the Bay Bridge, riping a gash in its fuel tanks. Authorities detained the crew yesterday for questioning.

The National Transportation Safety Board has also started its own investigation.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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