Coast Guard responds to fuel oil spill off of San Clemente Island

SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND, Calif., — The U.S. Coast Guard responded to a report of a fuel oil spill approximately 10 miles south of San Clemente Island. The spill was reported to the Coast Guard by the U.S. Navy earlier today.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk from Sector San Diego conducted two separate overflights to survey the spill area and confirm the drift. The spill is 3 light sheens covering an area approximately 4,000 by 1,800 yards. Based on current drift models, the spill is expected to remain within 10 miles of the initial spill location and not impact coastal regions.

The sheen is JP-5, a light aviation fuel, and when spilled into open water typically spreads into a thin, rainbow film. Because the film layer is so thin, jet fuels have higher evaporation rates and often break up and dissipate with sufficient emulsion.

“The fuel is projected to remain within the area drifting somewhat west and southwest and dissipate over the next 24-48 hours,” said Jordan Stout, National Oceanic and Atmostpheric Administration scientific support coordinator to the Coast Guard. “Based on the wind conditions and consistency of the fuel, we do not anticipate it will have a shoreline impact.” The Coast Guard has deployed a data marker buoy to track the sheen’s drift and will monitor it over the weekend.

The Coast Guard notified the National Oceanic and Atmostpheric Administration, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and California Department of Fish and Game.

“Mariners are advised to use caution when transiting within the general area of the spill,” said Cmdr. Michael Leon-Guerrero, Chief Office of Prevention.

Mariners should report any impacted areas to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

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