Emergency Crews Investigating Large Oil Slick Off Goleta Beach

Fisherman Henry Duncan, left, and Bob Seiler stand in the Goleta Beach parking lot after encountering a large oil sheen off the pier. County Fire Chief Eric Peterson in the background surveys the scene.

More on this story can be found here.

UPDATE, 1:06 p.m.: The Coast Guard will fly over the scene at 1:15 p.m. to determine the size and scope of the slick, Zaniboni said. A press conference will be held soon after.

Ron Hudson returns from fishing with a ring of oil around his kayak.
Paul Wellman

UPDATE, 12:42 p.m.: An aerial photo taken by a helicopter with ABC7 out of Los Angeles shows a large oil sheen extending far from Goleta Beach into the ocean. See it here. Other news agencies are reporting that the sheen reaches as far as an offshore oil rig. County officials said they are still waiting for federal responders to determine the source of the oil, and that the size of the slick has not been determined.

ORIGINAL REPORT Santa Barbara firefighters and the Public Health Department are investigating a large oil slick discovered off Goleta Beach just before 10 a.m. this morning.

Oil globs wash up on Goleta Beach.
Paul Wellman

Two kayakers reported the sheen 1,000 feet from the end of Goleta Pier and said it spread as far as they could see, according to County Fire spokesperson Capt. Dave Zaniboni. By the time they returned to shore, both kayakers and their boats were covered in oil. Others in the area reported strong smells of gas. Goleta Beach Park remains open, but people are not being allowed onto the beach or in the water.

Santa Barbara officials have notified the Coast Guard, EPA, and other federal agencies of the discovery. Flyover surveys have been ordered. Authorities are so far declining to call the incident a spill, but said the volume of oil in the area appears to be higher than what is released during normal seepage. It’s also unclear if the slick may be residue from the May 19 Refugio Oil Spill that took place 20 miles up the coast.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.


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