Coast Guard Update on the Oil Spill on Puerto Rican Coast

GUANICA, Puerto Rico – Unified Command shoreline assessment teams sighted oil Tuesday in mangroves in the vicinity of Isla Guayacan and the Puerto Rico State Forest, approximately three and a half miles west of La Parguera, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board and Department of Natural and Environmental Resources personnel reached the remote location accompanied by local fishermen. The assessment team was monitoring the shoreline using shallow-draft boats and investigating reports of oil sightings from local fishermen when they found that the sensitive area was impacted by oil.

The members of the Unified Command are working to determine the size of the contaminated area, the logistics involved in sending oil recovery crews deep into the mangroves and the oil recovery methods that will be utilized to clean the area.

Oil clean-up and recovery crews are also conducting operations in Cayo Turromote, approximately 2.5 miles south of La Parguera, while clean-up and recovery operations continue in Majagua Beach and mangroves in Punta Verraco, Guayanilla.

So far, over 350 cubic yards of material has been recovered from the water and beaches.

Coast Guard pollution investigators continue investigating the origin of the material that has been spilled into the water in the Guanica and Guayanilla area, and the emergency Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund was increased Monday to $3 million to continue clean up and recovery efforts of the material. If anyone has any information leading to the responsible party for the spill, they are encouraged to contact the Coast Guard at 787-289-2041.

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