Oil Spill in L.A. Harbor Still under Lens
The Coast Guard and California Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response are continuing their investigation of an oil spill that occurred on Sunday in the Los Angeles Harbor. A unified command has been established that includes the Coast Guard, California Fish and Wildlife, and the responsible party.
Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach command center received a report at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, of an unknown quantity of oil in the vicinity of the 577-foot cargo ship, Istra Ace. The ship was reported to have been leaking heavy fuel in the Cerritos channel at Berth 198. Oil was also observed throughout portions of Cerritos Channel, where booming strategies have been employed.
Coast Guard investigators from Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach, along with members of California Fish and Wildlife, Los Angeles Port Police and Los Angeles County Fire are assisting in the investigation and monitoring of the area. The initial investigation onboard the Istra Ace revealed faulty piping that may have allowed oil to leak from the starboard side of the ship. A Coast Guard helicopter overflight and shoreline clean-up assessments occurred at first light Monday to help determine the extent of the oil spilled.
The Coast Guard issued a safety zone restricting recreational and commercial vessel traffic in the affected area. These restrictions will ensure that vessels do not impede clean-up operations as well as avoid any possible contamination. Due to response efforts, the operations of the Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge have been temporarily suspended, restricting vessel traffic from transiting underneath the bridge. However, automobile traffic is not affected. On a case by case basis, requests to transit through the safety zone will be considered by the Unified Command.
The responsible party has contracted with the National Response Corporation Environmental Services and other sub-contractors to assist in efforts to contain and clean the oil. Currently, 15,600 feet of boom has been deployed around the vessel as well as at critical points in the channel. The boom has successfully contained the oil within the affected area preventing further contamination of the harbor.
Contractors are continuing to clean with sweepers and sorbent pads in the affected area and also any affected shoreline, as well as deploy resources for removal of contamination from vessels, docks, pilings and other structures.
At this time, there have been no confirmed reports of oiled wildlife. If you encounter oiled wildlife, please do not attempt to capture the animal, instead please call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at the following number: 1-877-UCD-OWCN1-877-UCD-OWCN or 1-877-823-69261-877-823-6926 FREE FREE.
The Coast Guard and state officials would like to remind the public that if you feel that this pollution incident has impacted you, a claims number has been provided. To make a claim, please call 1-888-850-84861-888-850-8486 FREE FREE.
A Unified Command facilitated containment boom deployment in the Port of Los Angeles to keep the oil from spreading and to protect recreational vessels in the area. Photos provided by California Fish and Wildlife.