Inter-Agency Partners Begin Oil Spill Clean up Efforts

Monday, February 09, 2004
An unidentified source of heavy oil washed up on the shore Tuesday between Shark River Inlet, Monmouth County, and Seaside Heights, Ocean County, prompting the Coast Guard and other federal, state and local officials to begin clean-up efforts. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office/Group Philadelphia along with the Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team, N.J. Department of Environmental protection, Bradley, Neptune, Asbury Park and Avon Offices of Emergency Response, New Jersey State Police, Tri-State Bird Rescue, and numerous other groups are currently responding to the spill that spans the 12-mile stretch of shoreline. The spill was reported Tuesday afternoon by New Jersey State Police. That afternoon, members from Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Philadelphia and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection were on scene assessing the situation. Reported were "Tar Balls" and "Tar Patties" that ranged from quarter in to 12 inches in diameter. These were reported to be very light and sporadic, which is consistent with a low impact spill. Numerous over flights by Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, New Jersey State Police and Monmouth County Sheriff Shade Tree Commission over several days reported no sign of oil sheen in the water. Wildlife effected thus far has been 19 birds confirmed dead, and 20 birds effected by the oil in some way. Tri-State Bird Rescues Rescues has been taking the effected birds to a facility for cleaning. No fish or shell fish have been effected according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Miller Environmental Group has been contracted to conduct the cleaning under the supervision of the Coast Guard. There are currently over 200 people involved in the clean-up operation. Tri-State Bird Rescue has conduct training to members within these agencies in how to safely and efficiently recover effected wildlife. Even though the spill has been classified low impact, the Coast Guard along with other state, local and federal agencies are working tirelessly in an effort to clean-up the oil. Citizens are urged not to walk their pets on the beach as the oil may get on the animals paws. The public is urged to contact the incident command post at (732) 610-2616 to report any sightings of effected wildlife and not to attempt to rescue the birds themselves as we have trained professionals on scene to care for the animals. The source of the spill is still under investigation.
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