PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Crew-members at the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Port Canaveral are working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and private contractors to respond to reports of tar balls seen intermittently in the area between southern Cocoa Beach to Melbourne Beach in Brevard County, Fla., the U.S. Coast Guard said in a release Thursday.
The Coast Guard is advising beach-goers to avoid contact with the objects, out of an abundance of caution.
Coast Guardsmen at MSD Port Canaveral were first notified of the objects Tuesday. Contractors have recovered approximately 50 pounds of the substance so far. The Coast Guard says that the tar balls are not a result of any reported oil spills in the area.
“The sudden appearance of these tar balls is not a new occurrence,” said Lt. Steven Elliot, the supervisor of MSD Port Canaveral. “In fact, there have been sightings of these objects dating back several years. Although we’re not fully certain as to their origin, I’d like to assure the community that the Coast Guard and our partner agencies are working as quickly as possible to ensure a thorough clean-up.”
The tar balls are being analyzed by a Coast Guard marine safety laboratory. Their origin is under investigation by the Coast Guard.
The tar balls have been described to be glossy black in color with a jelly-like texture. Most of them are pancake-shaped and vary in size from one-quarter of an inch to four inches in diameter.
The Coast Guard and its partners have commenced clean-up efforts in areas where the objects have been located.
Anyone who notices any tar balls is asked to report their findings to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 or at www.nrc.uscg.mil to file an online report.
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