GOLETA (CBSLA.com) — Authorities were investigating an oil sheen in the water near Goleta Beach in Santa Barbara, officials said.
The U.S. Coast Guard received a call from Santa Barbara County Fire Department at 10:40 a.m. reporting that there was a large amount of sheen – a “possible oil spill” – in the water, according to spokeswoman Andrea Anderson.
The sheen was approximately 1,000 yards from shore and approximately 60 feet in width, according to officials.
A Marine Safety Detachment team will be trying to determine a possible source, officials said.
Coast Guard officials urged the public to avoid making direct contact with the sheen and alert the National Response Center of any sightings. They say the sheen is three miles long and a half-mile wide, and is heading in the direction of Santa Barbara.
The Coast Guard later stated that the sheen is such a thin material that it is impossible to collect it, and suggested it will dissipate on its own.
Two kayakers had initially gotten caught in the sheen on Wednesday morning.
“A mile beyond the pier, there’s a string of kelp that goes out half a mile, and the sheen was definitely there a half a mile on either side of that string of kelp,” one kayaker said. “I hoped to get away from it by going out farther, so I went out another quarter or half mile, it still was there though.”
No reports of injured wildlife had been made by Wednesday evening.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the sheen had any connection to a massive oil spill in May at Refugio State Beach near Santa Barbara.
The May 19 spill was later blamed on a privately owned crude oil pipeline that leaked oil around the beach. The break released more than 100,000 gallons of crude, with 21,000 gallons flowing into the ocean.
Scientists later found the Refugio spill was responsible for at least one tar ball that washed up on the shores of Manhattan Beach.
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