Under contract to ExxonMobil, Berry Brothers General Contractors was conducting dredging operations at this location when they notified the Coast Guard that oil was discharging into the canal where they were located, which was approximately 10 miles southeast of Venice.
CPL, the pipeline operator, began closing off the affected section of the pipeline when abnormal conditions were detected through its remote pipeline monitoring operations. Emergency response actions and procedures were immediately initiated to minimize the environmental impact of the spill.
Advisories are still in place asking boaters to avoid the impacted area as containment booms may present a safety hazard for marine vessels. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) took the precautionary step of closing the affected portion of the refuge area south of Main Pass to the public to ensure their safety as well as response personnel conducting cleanup operations.
More than 250 people and 50 vessels have been deployed to conduct and manage cleanup operations and environmental protection efforts, which include oil recovery as well as efforts to keep wildlife out of the impacted area. Nearly 30,000 feet of containment boom has been deployed in and around sensitive habitat areas. Bird deterrent devices designed to scare birds away from the affected areas have also been deployed.
Observed impact to wildlife has been minimal. Individuals who observe injured or oiled wildlife should not attempt to rescue them. Doing so can be dangerous, and may cause injury to both the would-be rescuer and the wildlife. If impacted wildlife is observed, the public is asked to note the type of wildlife, location, and time of observation and promptly report it by calling the following number: 1-877-424-5495. Trained wildlife experts will then be dispatched to recover and care for the injured wildlife.
The Coast Guard continues to investigate the cause of the spill.