Major oil spot off California coast hits beaches

Off the coast of the US state of California, a large oil spill floats in the sea due to oil leakage, local authorities report. According to the LA Times, nearly half a million litres of oil landed in the sea; in barrels of around 3000, some of which have reached Orange Countys beaches and wetlands.

A spokesperson for the seaside town of Huntington Beach speaks of an alarming situation. There are feared of major ecological damage, but the extent is still unclear at the moment. However, dead birds and fish have already been washed up on the beach, reports the spokesman. According to local residents, it smells like oil in the area.

The oil stain is clearly visible on these images:

Floating barriers are trying to keep the rest of the oil away from the coast. Part of Huntington Beach Beach, best known among surfers, has been dropped off. Authorities have called on people to stay away from oil-smeared animals. โ€œThey can do more harm than good.โ€

The leak would have arisen in the pipeline of an oil platform that lies about 14 kilometres off coast. How that could happen is still unclear.

The local coast guard received an initial notification of the leak on Saturday morning. According to a producer involved in the oil project, Beta Offshore, employees acted quickly to close the gap.

Yet that repair has not yet resulted in the oil leakage to a complete stop, local authorities report. New repairs are underway today.