Diesel Spills from Squid Boat Run Aground at Santa Cruz Island

Unified Command Watchful for Wildlife and Contaminants

The "Speranza Marie" aground at Chinese Harbor at Santa Cruz Island | Credit: U.S. Coast Guard

Diesel fuel containment from a boat carrying 16,000 pounds of squid continues off Santa Cruz Island, the Unified Command responding to the spill reported Friday night. The Speranza Marie held about 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel and an unknown amount of hydraulic fuel when it hit shore at Chinese Harbor around 2 a.m. on December 15. The island is about 27 miles directly south of the City of Santa Barbara and the largest of the Channel Islands.

The six people aboard were rescued by another fishing boat and taken to Ventura, while a toxic-response team and cleanup crew headed to the island, which is part of the Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary.

A sheen was visible from the boat, which is owned by Ocean Angel VI LLC, north about a half-mile to Coche Point on Thursday and had decreased by Friday. Diesel fuel is light and floats, rather than sinking, and evaporates within a few days, according to the state Office of Response and Restoration. Contaminated debris has been removed from the water, and the squid is being transferred to decrease the quantity of wildlife it is attracting. So far, one dead cormorant has been retrieved.

Ocean Angel is a commercial fishing company based in Watsonville, according to its corporate statement filed with the state. It shares an address with Del Mar Seafood, which unloads in Ventura Harbor, its Facebook page indicates. The Unified Command includes Coast Guard, state Fish & Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Santa Barbara County, Channel Islands National Park, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and Ocean Angel representatives.

Global Diving and Salvage is working to remove the fuel and stabilize the ship with the help of Tow Boat USA, the Unified Command reported in a press statement. As well, Fish & Wildlife staff is on scene to make shoreline and wildlife assessments through the weekend. Mariners are advised to avoid the area, the Coast Guard stated.

Reports of oiled wildlife can be made to a hotline: (877) 823-6926. Though volunteers are not needed currently, should they be required, a request will be made at the Fish & Wildlife website: calspillwatch.wildlife.ca.gov

Credit: Courtesy

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