HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) – A “light sheen” was spotted Saturday off the coast of Huntington Beach — in the same region as the October leak that spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the ocean.
The sheen, measuring about 30-by-70 feet, was reported to the U.S. Coast Guard at about 12:15 p.m., the agency’s public information officer said. However, at about 4:02 p.m., the Coast Guard said there was no oil sheen observed by both ships and helicopters off the coast of Huntington Beach. It is believed that the sheen dissipated. Divers also replaced the wrap around the damaged pipe.READ MORE: Firefighters Rescue Infant, Two Adults From Fire At Two-Story Home
“While there have been no further observations of oil droplets after the wrap was replaced and no further observations of sheen since the initial report this morning, we continue to monitor the site,” said Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore, the Captain of the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach. “The Unified Command remains committed to our community and the environment.”
Pollution responders, aircraft and boats from a unified command were dispatched to the site to investigate the report, the USCG tweeted. The command includes personnel from the Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Coast Guard said that they will continue to monitor the pipeline and is investigating the source of whatever was spotted in the ocean today.
“I think the good news here is that we are so on alert as it relates to any kind of oil spills that even just a small sheen on the water is causing people to react in a very responsive and quick manner,” said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley. “If there is anything that needs to happen we are at the ready and we can prevent any kind of spill that would impact our coastline, our wildlife, our economy, tourism, etc.”
The possibility of problems frustrates some residents, especially those who cherish the coast.
“Our oceans and our waters are the most important thing on the planet,” said Huntington Beach resident Rebecca Smith. “It’s basically the essence of all life on earth and the marine life and all of the species depend on us to protect them as much as we could protect our own families.”
An underwater pipeline was determined to be the source of the October leak that spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the ocean, forcing the closure of beaches and harbors across Orange County.
That leak was first reported Oct. 2.READ MORE: Three Shot, Two Killed In Unincorporated Area Near South Los Angeles
USCG and National Transportation Safety Board investigators have identified a cargo ship named “Beijing” as a vessel involved in an “anchor- dragging incident” in January that may have contributed to the October leak.
Investigators boarded the vessel Thursday at the Port of Long Beach.
According to the Coast Guard, investigators determined the ship “was involved in a January 25, 2021, anchor-dragging incident during a heavy weather event that impacted the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.” The anchor-dragging occurred “in close proximity” to the underwater pipeline.
Beijing’s owner, Capetanissa Maritime Corp. of Liberia, and operator, V.Ships Greece Ltd., have been named “parties in interest” in the investigation, a designation that allows the companies to hire attorneys and examine witnesses in the probe of the spill’s cause.
In mid-October, the owner and operator of another ship, the MSC DANIT, were also named “parties in interest” in the investigation, also due to an “anchor-dragging incident” on Jan. 25 near the pipeline.
Authorities said earlier that the underwater pipeline had been dragged out of position, possibly by a ship’s anchor. The subsequent rupture in the pipe was discovered at the point where the pipeline had been dragged.
The rupture caused a leak estimated at about 25,000 gallons.MORE NEWS: Person Fatally Injured In Single-Vehicle Crash On Big Tujunga Canyon Road
Authorities said the investigation is continuing and “multiple pipeline scenarios and additional vessels of interest continue to be investigated.”