U.S Coast Guard pollution responders and partners responded to an oil sheen off Summerland Beach in Santa Barbara County, Calif. on Jan. 6.
The estimated 1.5-mile to 2-mile-long sheen was reported to be five nautical miles off Santa Barbara. The sheen’s cause was unknown at the time, but on Jan. 17, the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response said the sheen was likely natural seepage.
Just after 2 p.m. on Jan. 6, watchstanders from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara were notified by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services of the possible oil sheen.
The partner agencies informed the National Response Center of the incident and planned further actions.
A Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco MH-65 Dolphin helicopter flight crew conducted an overflight of the oil sheen off Summerland Beach on Jan. 7.
There were no initial reports from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife of any wildlife being harmed.
In a news release, the Office of Spill Prevention and Response stated that lab results from multiple locations onshore and offshore “indicate the product is consistent with local natural seep oil.”
As of mid-January, the oil was unable to be recovered.