Minor Oil Discharge Off Santa Barbara Coast

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Coast Guard responded today to a minor discharge of oil from a platform 20 miles west of Santa Barbara, approximately five miles offshore. The discharge happened at around 7:10 a.m. from the Platform Hondo owned by ExxonMobil. The company immediately responded with boats, helicopters and containment booms, and also with assets from Clean Seas Company of California. Currently there are eight cleanup vessels on scene, including two skimming vessels, with more on standby.

Coast Guard personnel from the Marine Safety Detachment in Santa Barbara are assessing the discharge and acting as Federal On Scene Coordinator (FOSC). The Coast Guard is working closely with California Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), ExxonMobil and Clean Seas, Inc. officials. The total amount of the discharge is not known, but was reported as less than four barrels, mostly in the form of an emulsion. However, due to the nature of the discharge, reported as a non-production line rupture due to corrosion, the line, as well as the entire platform, was shut down at 8:27 a.m.

The cause of corrosion which enabled the discharge is under investigation. A unified command consisting of Coast Guard, OSPR and ExxonMobil representatives is directing the response.

The Oil Platform Hondo was the site of a large scale, industry-led spill response drill held in August 2006 with the Coast Guard, California’s OSPR and other agencies and industry stakeholders. Based on the results of that exercise the Area Contingency Plan, a written plan for responding to oil spills, was updated to reflect the lessons learned, including response.

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