Friday, April 1, 2016

USCG Continues Monitoring of LA Harbor Oil Spill

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard said March 25 that it is continuing to monitor an oil spill that occurred during a refueling operation in the Los Angeles Harbor on March 13.

The 577-foot cargo ship Istra Ace was reported to have leaked heavy fuel in the Los Angeles harbor while conducting a refueling operation earlier this month.

The cause of the spill, according to the Coast Guard, appears to be a faulty pipe onboard the ship that allowed heavy fuel oil to escape the confines of the bunker room and leak out of a hatch on the side of the ship.

During the initial stages of the oil spill response, clean up contractors contained and removed oil in the vicinity of the marina, from the channel, from the barge and cargo ship.

Currently, cleanup activities are ongoing in the vicinity of Berth 198 on the pier pilings. Clean up operations on the pilings are contingent on tidal cycles, which limit the amount of hours the pilings are accessible for cleaning.

“Coast Guard and California Fish and Wildlife continue to actively monitor all marinas and waterways affected during the incident to ensure cleanup activities were effective,” the USCG said in a statement.

The initial estimate of oil spilled reported to the National Response Center was 50 gallons of heavy fuel, but the USCG said that the estimate could be inaccurate and should not be definitively stated as the actual amount, because a final amount has still not been calculated.

Safety and security zones issued by the Coast Guard that restricted recreational and commercial vessel traffic in the affected area were removed March 17. The channel was reopened to all vessel traffic, both commercial and recreational, at that time.