Gulf of Mexico oil sheen triggers spill response

HOUSTON Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:43pm EDT

An old Shell logo is seen on a vintage fuel wagon at a museum railway station in the town of Naumburg in northern Hesse March 17, 2012. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

An old Shell logo is seen on a vintage fuel wagon at a museum railway station in the town of Naumburg in northern Hesse March 17, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Related Topics

HOUSTON (Reuters) - An oil sheen spotted near Royal Dutch Shell platforms in the central Gulf of Mexico has caused the company to send a spill response vessel and seek aircraft over flights, a Shell spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The source of the one-mile by 10-mile sheen between Shell's Mars and Ursa projects is unknown and not linked to the facilities, but Shell is responding "proactively," a company statement said.

An on-call, after-hours spokesman for the Coast Guard said he had no information about the incident.

Shell said it reported the sheen to the National Response Center, which is run by the Coast Guard and keeps up with marine oil spills, pipeline leaks and other incidents of pollution. The sheen report did not immediately appear on the agency's website.

"Shell has no current indication that the sheen originates from wells in either the Mars or Ursa projects. However, out of prudent caution, Shell has activated the Louisiana Responder, a Marine Spill Response Corporation vessel," Shell's statement said.

"Shell has also requested flights to monitor the one by 10-mile sheen closely with additional aerial surveillance."

The Marine Spill Response Corporation is a non-profit organization created in 1990 by the oil and shipping industries to enable members to fulfill requirements of the U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

(Reporting by Bruce Nichols; editing by Carol Bishopric and Andre Grenon)

FILED UNDER: