By CBSLA Staff

NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) – More than 120,000 gallons of crude oil from an offshore oil rig has leaked into the waters off the OC Coastline in what city officials are calling a potential ecological disaster.

According to the Coast Guard, which reported the incident at 12:18 p.m., the slick was approximately three miles off Newport Beach and 13 square miles in size.

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The slick has so far reached Newport Beach, with Huntington Beach officials closing its ocean from the Santa Ana River Jetty to the pier.

The Coast Guard is calling the leak a major spill. Officials are working through the night to determine the impact to the environment, but are urging residents in the area to stay out of the water, not to swim or surf, as they evaluate the situation.

Officials, so far, are not naming the responsible company, but said they are working to find the cause of the leak.

California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said its spill prevention and response team was heading to the site as well.

“OSPR responding to reports of oil in federal waters several miles offshore of Huntington Beach. Multiple reports of sheen were made to Cal OES. OSPR crew on water surveilling area. Source, volume & oil type under investigation. Cleanup contractors being mobilized,” the CDFW tweeted.

The oil spill and cleanup efforts could potentially impact the Pacific Airshow in Huntington Beach, which had only just returned after a year hiatus. A record 1.5 million people turned out Saturday for the airshow, which could potentially cause an issue for crews working on the spill into Sunday. The mayor of Huntington Beach said they will monitor the situation and make a determination in the morning as to whether the airshow will continue.

Huntington Beach officials held a press conference Saturday night to update the public on the city’s efforts to mitigate the oil leak.

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“We’re aware that oil has hit the beach here in Huntington Beach,” Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said, “and it also appears that it has infiltrated the Talbert Marsh.”

“We recognize the gravity of the situation. We recognize how serious this is and we are and will continue to fight this with all of our collective resources to ensure that we avert this from becoming a major environmental disaster here in our community,” Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris said.

“At some point, we must address these types of spills and how they are…wreaking such havoc not only just on our environment, but also on our economics in our community,” Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said.

Saturday evening, the city of Newport Beach tweeted, “The large oil spill reported off the coast earlier today is now expected to come ashore in Newport Beach at some point tonight, at a location between Balboa Pier and CdM Main Beach. A Unified Incident Command is established at the Long Beach Emergency Operations Center.”

 

 

 

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)