Oil sheen from a massive crude spill in the Gulf of Mexico has started washing ashore on an island off Louisiana, officials said Thursday, confirming a land impact for the first time.
“Teams have confirmed oil on Freemason Island,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Connie Terrell told AFP. “It is at the south end of the Chandeleur Islands. It is largely sheen with no evidence of medium or heavy oil.”
BP spokesman John Curry said three emergency response teams had been sent to the island, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) offshore, and were deploying inflatable booms to try to protect the prime marsh and wildlife area.
“This is the first confirmation of shoreline impact we have had,” Curry told AFP. “We are doing everything we can to make sure a major impact doesn’t happen.”
The Chandeleur Islands form the easternmost point of Louisiana and are part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge — the second oldest refuge in the United States and home to countless endangered shorebirds.