Coast Guard cites faulty piping in LA cargo ship oil spill


The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(LOS ANGELES) — The responsible party of spilled oil in the vicinity of the 577-foot cargo ship Istra Ace has continued their cleanup efforts that began Sunday. The Coast Guard and California Fish and Wildlife are overseeing all response efforts, while the Los Angeles Port Police and Los Angeles County Fire are assisting in monitoring the area.

The ship was reported to have been leaking heavy fuel in the Cerritos Channel at Berth 198, after an initial investigation revealed faulty piping that may have allowed oil to leak from the starboard side of the ship. Oil was also observed throughout portions of Cerritos Channel, where booming strategies have been employed.

The responsible party has contracted with the National Response Corporation Environmental Services and other subcontractors to assist in efforts to contain, clean and recover the oil. An additional 1,600 feet of boom has been deployed since the initial 15,600 feet of boom that currently surrounds the vessel as well as critical points in the channel. The boom has successfully contained the oil within the affected area preventing further contamination of the harbor.

Active response efforts occur throughout the day, while at night, a boom watch is in effect as well as the safety zone issued by the Coast Guard, restricting recreational and commercial vessel traffic in the affected area. These restrictions will ensure that vessels do not impede cleanup operations as well as avoid any possible contamination.

A second helicopter flight completed by Los Angeles Police Department on Monday afternoon helped to further determine the extent of the oil spilled. This morning, the responsible party contracted a private aircraft to survey the impacted area. All flights have shown progress in the cleanup efforts.

Contractors are continuing to clean with sweepers and sorbent pads in the affected area and also any affected shoreline, as well as deploy resources for removal of contamination from vessels, docks, pilings and other structures. A total of 18 response vessels have been assigned and working the incident.

Due to response efforts, the operations of the Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge have been temporarily suspended, restricting vessel traffic from transiting underneath the bridge. However, automobile traffic is not affected. On a case-by-case basis, requests to transit through the safety zone will be considered by the Unified Command.

At this time, California Fish and Wildlife recovery teams have observed six oiled birds. If you encounter oiled wildlife, please do not attempt to capture the animal, instead please call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at the following number: 1 (877) UCD-OWCN or 1 (877) 823-6926.

The responsible party would like to inform the public that if you feel that this pollution incident has impacted you, a claims process has been established. To make a claim, please call 1-888-850-8486.

Editor's note: Istra Ace is owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL).

By Professional Mariner Staff