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Source of oil sheen in Twillingate harbour unknown, says coast guard

Oil in Twillingate

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans started receiving reports of the oil sheens Sunday night. (Julian Earle/Facebook)

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The source of an oil sheen in Twillingate harbour on Sunday hasn't been discovered, says Larry Crann, a senior response officer with the Coast Guard. 

"Right now we haven't identified the source but we have identified that it is probably a lighter product like a diesel fuel, a hydraulic oil," said Crann.

"It's a non-recoverable sheen so as a precautionary measure we've deployed some absorbent booms in the area to contain any light residual oil that would be recoverable."

Videos of the sheen were posted on social media Sunday evening. Twillingate resident Brent Baggs said the sheen appeared to be the "size of large trucks" and said the area smelled like the inside of an engine room.

"One litre of diesel fuel can spread out the size of a football field under ideal conditions," said Crann. "You would get the fumes and the smell but again a lot it would be none-recoverable."

An environmental response team was sent to the area on Monday. Crann said crew on a fast rescue craft surveyed the harbour and did not observe any additional sheening. Neither did a surveillance flight over the area on Tuesday morning. 

Crann said three Coast Guard personnel are in Twillingate completing an assessment. 

"We would do surveys of the shoreline sensitivities. We would do surveys of the harbour. We would make sure that we don't have any potential or any sources where that could be originating," said Crann. 

Crann encouraged anyone who spots marine pollution to call their emergency line at 1-800-563-9089.