The Coast Guard was notified at 5 a.m. Thursday of a stationary sheen stretching from piers one and two in the harbor to more than 200 yards off shore.
Coast Guard investigators from Marine Safety Detachment, Hawaii, on the Big Island, immediately responded to the scene of the incident. Investigators estimated that approximately 250 gallons of red-dye marine diesel from an unknown source caused the sheen.
Using money from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (under authorization of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990), the Coast Guard hired Pacific Environmental Corporation (PENCO) to conduct the cleanup. PENCO is on scene with small boats and personnel on shore.
Recovery operations commenced this morning immediately after a safety briefing at first light. Divers in the water collected what was left of the oil today. Coast Guard investigators collected samples and sent them to the National Marine Safety Lab for analysis.
The thin fuel, a type of marine diesel, appears red on the surface of the water. Generally, marine diesel fuels dissipate, evaporate or burn away quickly.
An HH-65 dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point was launched at 1:30 p.m.Thursday, to document and evaluate the situation. On Thursday and Friday, most of the oil had been collected with absorbent pads.
The Coast Guard is working closely with state and county officials and with the Honolulu-based Clean Islands Council. On Thursday, Coast Guard — and contracted responders — immediately deployed boom, which is a protective barrier placed on the water to prevent the spread of oil and other pollutants.
The source of the oil is currently under investigation.