Oil slick off Newport Beach covers 13 square miles – Los Angeles Times

An oil slick believed to have originated from a pipeline leak poured into the waters off Newport Beach on Saturday, spreading about 13 square miles, but officials believe it will be quickly contained.

Workers moved to shut the pipeline down and use pressurized equipment to retrieve as much oil as possible soon after the incident was reported at 12:18 p.m., said Kate Conrad of Beta Offshore, a Southern California oil producer involved in the operation.

“We were alerted quickly,” she said. “We really believe we will keep this to a small contained incident.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife also sent crews to the scene after multiple reports of a sheen on the water about five miles off the Newport Beach coast. Cleanup crews are being mobilized, the department tweeted.

There were no immediate reports of “oiled wildlife,” but the department’s investigation is ongoing, said spokesman Eric Laughlin.

He asked that people not approach potentially affected wildlife as “they can cause more harm than good to the animals” but instead call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at (877) 823-6926. A crew from the network has been mobilized for any needed rescue and rehabilitation work.

“Members of the public should avoid the oiled shoreline, as the area is unsafe and should only be cleaned by trained contractors,” Laughlin said.

Huntington Beach was closed from the Santa Ana River jetty to the pier, the city said in a 7:21 p.m. tweet.

The City of Newport Beach is monitoring the spill, officials said. The spill should dissipate through wind, sun and wave action and is not expected to come ashore, the city tweeted earlier.

Newport Beach resident Kerry Keating said she and other neighbors began smelling a “horrible and strong” odor like tar Friday night and several people on the Nextdoor neighborhood network also reported hearing a loud boom.

“We are all quite concerned for the marine life,” Keating wrote in an email.