California Oil Spill

An oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, has released up to 105,000 gallons of crude and about 21,000 gallons went into the sea, according to estimates.

The Californian governor has declared a state of emergency.

The spill was caused by a broken underground pipeline, which happened after a series of mechanical problems caused the line to be shut down, the operator of Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline said. Some oil then leaked into a culvert and into the Pacific Ocean.

The line was manually shut down by 11:30 am on 20 May, 45 minutes after the rupture occurred, according to the firm.

California Oil Spill

The oil spill moves along the Santa Barbara coastline. Officials say the slick covers 9 miles and has affected 4 miles of beach.

Scenes were reminiscent of a major 3-million gallon spill in Santa Barbara in 1969, which created an oil slick 35 miles long.

California Oil Spill
The pipeline is part of a local oil transport network. Oil is pumped from offshore platforms (shown above) and then transported to an Exxon Mobil processing plant before being pumped east by a Plains station.

The cleanup operation

California Oil Spill

Here oil is being physically moved from a beach on the Santa Barbara coastline as part of the cleanup effort. Some crews shovelled the crude into buckets.

California Oil Spill

Oil washes up on the beach. It will take around three days to clean up, according to official estimates.

California Oil Spill

Crews are combing beaches for oiled wildlife – though it’s too early for numbers of affected wildlife, NOAA said two pelicans had been found to have been oiled.

California Oil Spill

More evidence of crude along the shoreline.

California Oil Spill

Workers use rakes and spades to clean up the coastline. Boats deployed booms off the coastline to contain the oil.

“Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact,” the firm stated.

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