Cleanup crews responded to the Port of LA Sunday after oil leaked down the side of a cargo ship during a refueling operation and into the water.
The spill was reported about 7:25 p.m. at Berth 198, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The fluid leaked from a large car-carrying ship and left a visible sheen in the water.
Fire department crews aboard boats placed about 15,000 feet of boom around the ship, which was tilted to one side to prevent leading, to contain the fluid.
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Authorities later determined that during refueling, a process that involves bringing a barge alongside the ship, a hatch on the cargo vessel was not water tight, according to the Coast Guard. The hatch was on the side opposite of the refueling barge, which ceased operations after crewmembers noticed an oily odor and saw a sheen in the water, said Capt. Jennifer Williams, of the Coast Guard.
Authorities expected to get a better idea of the extent of the spill by conducting helicopter flights over the area. Details regarding the amount of oil that leaked were not immediately available.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife received two reports of "oiled wildlife," said Lt. Christian Corbo. A team of specialists was dispatched to investigate the report.
The substance, called heavy fuel oil, can required a long time to clean, according to the Coast Guard. The fluid would need to be cleaned from the water, and possible other vessels and anything else that it contacted.