Tarball Test Results Show No Link to Cosco Busan

SAN FRANCISCO – Laboratory test results show tarball samples from the Central California shoreline are Monterey formation oil deposits, the US Coast Guard (USCG) and the California Department of Fish & Game’s (DFG) Office of Spill Prevention and Response reported today.

“These results confirm that the tarballs are not remnants from the Cosco Busan oil spill, and are likely natural seepage from the sea floor near Monterey,” said US Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Arex Avanni.

Further testing is being done at the Department of Fish & Game’s petroleum chemistry laboratory in Rancho Cordova to confirm that the samples are natural seepage, but experts believe this is the case due to the weathered nature of the oil washing ashore.

“The oiling of beaches along the Pacific Coast is not uncommon during heavy winter storms when onshore winds and tides wash the oil ashore,” said Lt. Brian Arnold. “Historically, appearances of tarballs have occurred in late January and early February.”

Cleanup of the beaches continues today with Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams (SCAT) walking the beaches from San Mateo to Monterey assessing impacts and directing cleanup crews to the most heavily impacted area.

The Department of Fish & Game is helping to coordinate the use of local volunteers who were trained during the Cosco Busan spill to look for sightings of tarballs.

Beach cleanups today include the follow:

  • San Mateo County: Esplanade, Sharp Park, Rockaway, Linda Mar, Poplar and Redondo
  • Santa Cruz County: Cove Beach
  • Monterey County: Monterey State Beach

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