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Coast Guard investigates the cause of two reported sheens near San Diego

Coast Guard investigates the cause of two reported sheens near San Diego
Archive image::A Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter flies over Gator Beach of Naval Base Coronado, California, April 11, 2016.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black.

SAN DIEGO​ —​ The Coast Guard​ continued​ its investigation Wednesday into the cause of two reported sheens near San Diego.​ ​

Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach and​ Coast Guard Sector San Diego​ personnel​ received reports of two sheens in the​ Pacific Ocean Saturday,​ one near Point Loma and​ one​ near​ San Clemente Island.​

The first sheen, located approximately 11​ miles​ northwest​ of​ Point Loma, was reported at approximately 10:30 a.m.​ Saturday.​ The​ Point Loma sheen was reported to be approximately three miles in length and a half mile in width. A Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60​ JayhawkMedium-Range Recovery Helicopter aircrew​ was dispatched​ to​ survey​ the area​ and​ verified​ a​ sheen was present at that time. Coast Guard pollution response​ personnel​ reported that the fuel causing the sheen was unrecoverable and​ would dissipate naturally.​ ​

At approximately 11:50​ a.m.​ Saturday,​ a​ second sheen was reported​ approximately​ 14​ miles off San Clemente Island. Coast Guard Sector​ San Diego​ Joint Harbor Operations Center​ watchstanders​ contacted a Navy​ vessel conducting training near the reported​ area to verify the sheen. Navy personnel reported no signs of sheening in or around San Clemente Island.​ ​

The Coast Guard conducted an overflight​ Tuesday afternoon to observe the conditions of the San Clemente sheen. No visible sheen was reported.​

The sheen is suspected to have been caused by petroleum-based products​ such as​ light fuel or diesel​ fuel.​ In open air conditions,​ these products would​ normally​ dissipate within a day or less. The dissipation rate is further​ expedited​ by the​ 10-knot winds​ reported in that area over the past few days.​

The​ Coast​ Guard​ has​ coordinated​ with​ the​ Navy,​ National​ Oceanic​ and​ Atmospheric​ Administration, Fish and Wildlife Service​ and California Department of Fish and Wildlife​ since Saturday​ to investigate the cause of the sheen.​ ​

“The Coast Guard takes all reports of marine environmental pollution seriously,”​ said Lt.​ Ryan Szabo,​ the​ Sector San Diego Incident Management Division​ chief. “We thank all of the responsible citizens who reported these environmental concerns in a timely manner.”​ ​

The Coast Guard​ asks​ that​ mariners​ continue to provide any reports of marine environmental pollution to the National Response Center at​ (800)​ 424-8802,​ or​ the​ Joint Harbor Operations Center at​ (619)​ 278-7057.


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