Tar patties wash shore, reports of oil sheen in Pass Christian - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Tar patties wash shore, reports of oil sheen in Pass Christian

Tar patty found on the beach in Pass Christian. Tar patty found on the beach in Pass Christian.

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) – With word of a possible oil sheen floating about a mile south of Pass Christian's shores Thursday morning, a fleet of boats immediately went on the defense. The sheen was described as being 200 feet wide and about three miles long.

"I would imagine that's probably what they're working right now, trying to catch as much of the sheen as possible," said Gordon.

Crews with BP's "Vessels of Opportunity Program" worked east of the Pass Christian Harbor Thursday.  Some boaters were placing pads in the water, and then scooping them up.  One team was seen pulling a boom.

"It's a type of skimming that they're doing with absorbent boom. They put it out. The boom will only absorb the oil," said Pass Christian Emergency Management Director Dwight Gordon.

Gordon pointed to another big concern -- hundreds of tar patties that are still rolling in with the surf and littering the beach.

"It's actually the booming and stuff that we got really isn't doing a whole lot.  Because a lot of it is washing along the bottom," said Gordon.  "I don't personally believe that this has been handled properly."

Deb Fournier and her daughter spent more time dodging the sticky mess than enjoying the sand and water.

"It's gross.  It's just disgusting," said Fournier. 

These visitors from Maine were in town for a family wedding.  They were amazed at how much the beach has changed in just a matter of days.

"There wasn't any oil here a couple of days ago, when we came by, and you can see small patties, big patties," said Fournier.  "It's disappointing.  It's sad.  This area has been through so much, with the hurricanes and Katrina and now this."

City leaders hope to see plenty of crews over the next few days cleaning up on land and on the water.

"I am upset, but we have disasters all the time. My concern now is how long will this go on?" he asked.

The boats are expected to continue skimming the waters until dark. We spoke with a DMR and a BP spokesman, and they could not confirm any reports of an oil sheen near the Pass.

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