Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.



Cleanup operations continued Tuesday on a cargo ship oil spill that has since been contained within an area of the Port of Los Angeles.

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,” U.S. 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 a half-dozen birds found with oil on them were turned over to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network for treatment.

The spill was reported at 7:25 p.m. Sunday and prompted a hazardous materials team response by 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 leak — the amount of oil spilled was unknown — left a visible sheen in the water. 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 were suspended, restricting vessel traffic from transiting underneath the bridge.

Vehicle traffic was unaffected.

The Coast Guard ordered recreational and commercial vessel traffic restricted in the affected area, Kneen said, to “ensure that vessels do not impede clean-up operations as well as avoid any possible contamination.”

“On a case-by-case basis, requests to transit through the safety zone will be considered by the unified command,” Kneen said this afternoon.

The unified command 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 shouldn’t try to capture the animal, and instead 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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