Diesel fuel spills into Newport Beach Harbor

NEWPORT BEACH — A substantial blanket of diesel fuel poured into Newport Beach Harbor Monday leaving law enforcement officials searching for the main source.

Dispatcher Brian Stanley of the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Harbor Patrol said a concerned resident contacted officials at 9:25 a.m. to inform them of the layer of oil spreading outside Lido Marina Village.

“We had several boats and a helicopter looking for the source,” Stanley said. “We were unable to locate one.”

The spill spread about 400 yards by 450 yards, Stanley said, with the majority of the oil floating between the Lido Bridge and the Newport Boulevard Bridge. He added that Harbor Patrol is unsure of how the leak happened, and there is no indication that the oil came from one specific marina or boat.

Boats have not been removed from the area, but a law enforcement helicopter is assisting patrolmen in searching for a source.

“We’re waiting for nature to take its course and for the sun to burn it off,” Stanley said.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard were in the area at the time of the spill, but Stanley said the agency was there conducting maintenance on a nearby entrance buoy.

He added that spills of this magnitude are infrequent in the area.

“I’ve been here eight years and I can’t think of one this large up there,” Stanley said. “We’ll patrol check throughout the day. Hopefully other citizens will call in with tips or an idea of where it might have come from so we can go check out a specific area or boat.”

To provide a tip, please call Harbor Patrol at (949) 770-6011.

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