PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

January 14, 2014

UPDATE: Agencies respond to oil spill near Pleasure Island Yacht Club

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Sun shone through a cloudless sky over the cold waters of Sabine Lake as sailboats and similar vessels bobbed with the waves at the Port Arthur Yacht Club on Tuesday.

A closer look showed numerous yards of orange and of white oil containment booms laid out around the perimeter of the waterway that were put in place to contain an oil sheen that was reported on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

The U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit and the Texas General Land Office are the responding agencies to the incident and are conducting a joint investigation into the cause of the incident and tracking down all possible sources, according to a press release for the U.S. Coast Guard MSU Port Arthur office.

For now the source of the oil sheen is unknown.

“The Coast Guard and TGLO are working to systematically direct the oil spill response and clean-up efforts,” according to the press release. “Booming strategies have been established to protect the marina and private property; boom will stay in place until the source has been secured and cleanup is completed. An estimated 30 gallons of crude oil condensate has been recovered and a likely source has been identified, pending further investigation.”

Pleasure Island Commission Director Jimmy Dike has a clear view of the cleanup work from his office on Pleasure Island. Dike spoke with Coast Guard officials recently who reportedly told him that testing on the oil is being done.

Dike has not heard any reports from boaters or nearby homeowners regarding oil smell.

“There has been no odor associated with the oil spill reported by boaters or homeowners as opposed to the Eagle Otomoe incident,” Dike said referring to the Jan. 23, 2010 spill in the nearby ship channel that occurred during a collision between the Eagle Otome and a barge.

Mike Wise, Port Arthur Yacht Club commodore, said he wasn’t aware of the spill until Saturday.

“People can still access their boats and there has been no damage that we are aware of,” Wise said.

Jerry Mambretti with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Coastal Fisheries Division said they are keeping an eye on the situation

“We have not noticed any fish kills or any impact to the natural resources,” Mambretti said. “The coastal fisheries staff went out today (Tuesday) and did not find any negative impact. We will continue to monitor the area.”

For more information, contact Lt. Junior Grade Cynthia Swan at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur at 284-2219. Mariners may contact the Pleasure Island Commission Office Director Jimmy Dike at 982-4675 for information pertaining to the marina.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews