A Potential Ecological Disaster: Massive Oil Spill Off California Coast Causes Beach Closures

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The US Coast Guard in the Southwest Pacific region has registered an oil spill that spans more than 30 square kilometers off the coast of California, just five kilometers from the city of Newport Beach.

An estimated 3,000 barrels of crude oil spilled from the Elly platform, operated by Beta Offshore, this Saturday, causing the concern of the local authorities and the closure of the beaches for security reasons.

Newport Beach mobilized its resources and emergency teams to protect its territory against the eventual arrival of the oil slick that, according to its estimates, was due to make landfall at night, while authorities in nearby Huntington Beach, another affected Orange County city, closed the beach and access to the ocean.

The spilled crude oil spread for a few 10 kilometres between Huntington Beach Pier and Newport Beach, and authorities they urged the population to “stay away from the beach” and avoid any contact with contaminated areas “due to toxicity”.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr described the situation as a “potential ecological disaster“The oil has already reached the coast of the city, where they began to find dead birds and fish.

Beta Offshore representative Kate Conrad commented to Los Angeles Times that workers rushed to shut down the pipeline and used pressurization equipment to recover as much oil as possible after the spill became known. However, crude was still leaking into the ocean early Sunday morning, according to the release Huntington Beach City Hall issued shortly before 1 a.m.

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At the moment, the causes of the spill are unknown and California authorities are working to contain the black spot. In turn, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW, for its acronym in English) mobilized cleanup contractors and patrols the area.

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