Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

With cleanup crews making progress on an oil spill at the Port of Los Angeles, a safety zone restricting the movements of recreational and commercial vessels was lifted Thursday, restoring access to all areas of the harbor that had been blocked.

“The safety zone issued by the (U.S.) Coast Guard, restricting recreational and commercial vessel traffic in the affected area has been removed,” the Coast Guard said this afternoon in a statement. “The channel is now open to all vessel traffic.”

The Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge, which can be lifted vertically to allow ship traffic in the Cerritos Channel to pass below, had been taken out of operation following the Sunday night spill, but it resumed normal operations Wednesday, according to the Coast Guard.

Also Wednesday, officials said there was no longer any visible sign of an oil sheen on the water on either side of booms that were deployed to contain the spill.

About 15,600 feet of boom were deployed around the 577-foot Panamanian- registered car-carrying ship Istra Ace Sunday “preventing further contamination of the harbor,” U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer SondraKay Kneen said. Since the shipping company has been deemed responsible for the leak, its operators are responsible for the cleanup effort and have hired contractors to carry out the work, according to the Coast Guard.

The spill was reported at 7:25 p.m. Sunday. During the cleanup effort, a half-dozen birds were found with oil on them and were turned over to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network for treatment.

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. It was still unclear how much oil spilled.

— City News Service 

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