The oil spills were a mystery. Dozens throughout the 1990s had killed more than 50,000 seabirds and several sea otters off the California coast.

Finally, in 2002, a team of experts pinpointed the culprit: the wreck of the SS Jacob Luckenbach, a freighter headed to Korea laden with supplies for the Korean War effort, which sank off the coast of California in 1953. 

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