Mystery Oil Spill Cleanup Concludes, Investigation Continues

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Unified Command for the mystery oil spill in Guayanilla Bay Aug. 30, demobilized the La Parguera, Puerto Rico, Incident Command Post Friday, after completing cleanup operations in the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico.A final assessment team with representatives from U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and Environmental Quality Board and a Qualified Individual from General Maritime Management inspected the areas affected by the oil spill Thursday and Wednesday.

The team concluded that the end point criteria for the cleanup had been met and that all known recoverable oil had been cleaned from the beaches and mangroves. The team also determined that clean up operations could be renewed if any additional recoverable oil is identified in the future.

Currently, the affected mangroves in La Parguera are being monitored and are surrounded by absorbent boom that is scheduled to be removed from the sensitive area Friday.

National Response Corporation cleanup crews recovered approximately 1,000 cubic yards of material from the water, beaches and mangroves and approximately 19,000 gallons of contaminated water consisting of five to 10 percent oil. So far, the cleanup and recovery efforts of the material are estimated to be more than $6 million dollars.

Coast Guard pollution investigators continue investigating the incident. The Coast Guard formally designated General Maritime Management as the responsible party in this case. Since then, General Maritime Management dispatched a Qualified Individual to Puerto Rico to participate in the cleanup efforts.

“The cleanup and recovery operations have concluded for the mystery oil spill,” said Capt. James E. Tunstall, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “However, we will continue to thoroughly investigate this incident and monitor the affected area in case any new recoverable oil is identified that needs to be cleaned up.”

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