Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Red-brown oil washes ashore at Dauphin Island

Red-brown oil washes ashore at Dauphin Island

Hermit crabs covered in reddish-brown oil are shown on the coast at Dauphin Island, Ala., Tuesday, June 1, 2010.
The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 1:11 a.m.
DAUPHIN ISLAND | Red-brown oil made its first appearance Tuesday on an Alabama island near the mouth of Mobile Bay, three weeks after tar balls were found there.

Donald Williamson, director of the state Department of Public Health, said patches of oil washed up on Dauphin Island's east end, prompting officials to close some state waters to fishing and post warnings urging beachgoers to stay out of the water.
“It's weathered oil. I don't sense that this is the beginning of a tide of oil, but we are going to have to monitor it to see exactly how much more comes in,” Williamson said of the oil sighted on the island, a popular tourist destination.
Williamson said the state was advising swimmers to avoid the waters off the Gulf of Mexico on the western side of Mobile Bay but had not banned swimming. He said no oil had been reported on the east side of Mobile Bay, where Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are summertime tourist havens.
Williamson said state researchers have discovered rising amounts of hydrocarbons in water samples taken close to shore, but he described the levels as minute.
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander overseeing the response to the spill, on Tuesday described the spill as a series of patches rather than one continuous slick. Williamson said Alabama officials think the oil at Dauphin Island is one of those patches.
On Tuesday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration extended the fishing ban in federal waters of the Gulf. More than 31 percent of federal waters, including all off the Alabama coast, are now closed to fishing because of the oil spill.

Williamson said the fisheries closure affected the only three oyster beds remaining open in Alabama waters and extended from the mouth of Mobile Bay west to the Mississippi state line.
State waters east of the mouth of Mobile Bay remain open to fishing.
Officials with the Port of Mobile said the port is open to commercial traffic and no closures are expected.
In neighboring Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour said a two-miles-long narrow strand of oil was found Tuesday on Petit Bois Island, south of Jackson County.
Petit Bois is the easternmost barrier island in the state and near the Alabama state line.
Barbour said officials think the strand broke off a patch south of Horn Island on Sunday.

1 comment:

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