Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Oil spilled from a cargo ship was contained Monday within the affected area, according to the Coast Guard.

Some 15,600 feet of boom were deployed around the 577-foot Panamanian- registered car-carrying ship Istra Ace “preventing further contamination of the harbor,” Coast Guard Petty Officer SondraKay Kneen said

“Contractors are cleaning with sweepers and absorbent pads and affected shoreline, as well as deploying resources for removal of contamination from vessels, docks, pilings and other substructures,” Kneen said.

Kneen said three birds were found with oil on them and were turned over to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network for treatment.

The spill was reported at 7:25 p.m. Sunday and prompted a HazMat response, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

“The ship was reported to have been leaking heavy fuel in the Cerritos channel at Berth 198,” Kneen said. “Reports of oil were also observed throughout portions of Cerritos Channel, where booming strategies have been employed.”

The initial investigation aboard the Istra Ace “revealed faulty piping that may have allowed oil to leak from the starboard side of the ship,” Kneen said.

The amount of oil spilled is not known. A flight by a Coast Guard helicopter and shoreline clean-up assessments occurred at first light today to help determine the extent of oil spilled, Kneen said.

The leak left a visible sheen in the water, according the department’s Margaret Stewart. Fire department crews aboard boats placed booms around the ship to contain the leak.

Because of the investigation, the operations of the Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge have been temporarily suspended, restricting vessel traffic from transiting underneath the bridge.” Car traffic is continuing, Kneen said.

The Coast Guard ordered a restriction of recreational and commercial vessel traffic in the affected area, Kneen said.

“These restrictions will ensure that vessels do not impede clean-up operations as well as avoid any possible contamination,” Kneen said.

A unified command was established that includes personnel from the Coast Guard, the California Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and the responsible party, the shipping company, Kneen said.

Anyone in the area who spots wildlife that may be affected by the oil were urged not to try to capture the animal, but to call the Care Network at (877) 823-6926.

Anyone interested in filing a claim of damages in connection with the spill can call (888) 850-8486.

—City News Service

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