Spill reported off Grand Isle


GRAND ISLE — The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating reports of oil 6 miles off the Grand Isle coast extending into the Gulf of Mexico.

Officials confirmed there is a 5-mile wide spill of some substance in the Gulf, but they have not determined what it is. The substance will not be identified until this morning, as a patrol boat was still en route to the scene at 9 p.m., Coast Guard Petty Officer Casey Ranel said Saturday night.

The National Response Center first received a report of oil at 9:34 a.m. Saturday. The report indicated a three-mile-long rainbow sheen on the surface, according to a news release from the Coast Guard. Two other reports followed, the last one reporting a sheen extending 100 miles into the Gulf.

Grand Isle Fire Chief Aubrey Chiasson said he first heard of the substance this afternoon, after officials started calling him.

“They were doing some dredging at the mouth of the river, so it could be some silt or dredging material,” Chiasson said.

No injuries were reported for any incidents relating to the spill, Ranel said, and the Coast Guard does not know how the substance got into the water. The Coast Guard would have gotten to the supposed spill earlier, but they were called to a search and rescue case, officials said.

Chiasson said the Coast Guard would be flying over the scene this morning.

Grand Isle Police said they had not received any reports of oil off the coast.

Staff Writer Eric Heisig can be reached at 857-2202 or eric.heisig@houmatoday.com. Follow him Twitter@TerrebonneCrime.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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