Coast Guard responds to reports of oil in the Gulf of Mexico

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard is responding to reports of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, Saturday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received the first notification at 9:34 a.m., reporting a three-mile-long rainbow sheen in the Gulf of Mexico. Two more reports followed, the last one reporting a sheen that extended from six miles off the coast of Grand Isle to 100 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico.

An overflight conducted by a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65C Dolphin helicopter and crew was able to confirm there was a substance on the surface of the water, but was unable to complete the aerial survey due to being diverted for a search and rescue case.

The Coast Guard has activated its Gulf Strike Team as well as diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Pompano to the scene in order to continue assessing the situation. Another MH-65C helicopter and crew is being launched from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans to continue the aerial survey. Additionally, an HC-144A Ocean Sentry and crew along with a marine science expert have been deployed from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center, Mobile, Ala., to confirm and assess the situation.

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has been opened.

The incident is under investigation and more information will be released as it becomes available.

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