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Document Number: 46

Texas City "Y" Response Area Command

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: March 27, 2014 7:54:02 PM CDT

UPDATE 1: Matagorda Bay

Oil makes landfall on Matagorda Island off the Texas coast, March 27, 2014. The Unified Command for the Texas City Y Response is working diligently to clean affected areas and mitigate further landfall. (Unified response photo) Oil makes landfall on Matagorda Island off the Texas coast, March 27, 2014. The Unified Command for the Texas City Y Response is working diligently to clean affected areas and mitigate further landfall. (Unified response photo)
Oil makes landfall on Matagorda Island off the Texas coast, March 27, 2014. The Unified Command for the Texas City Y Response is working diligently to clean affected areas and mitigate further landfall. (Unified response photo)

Oil spill responders from the Incident Command Post Matagorda in Port O’Connor, Texas, continued to implement their aggressive plans intended to protect environmentally sensitive areas of the Matagorda Bay area against impact from a portion of the oil spilled in Saturday’s ship-barge collision near Texas City, Thursday.

The Unified Command including the U.S Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and Kirby Inland Marine, took extensive actions yesterday in anticipation of the potential impact on those sensitive areas, based on priorities already established in the Area Contingency Plan along the coast of the Matagorda Peninsula, Matagorda Island and Sundown Island. As expected, the oil moved ashore overnight onto Matagorda Island, driven by winds and seas from the southeast.  

Overflights of the area confirmed today that the oil impacted approximately 12 miles of beach on Matagorda Island, south of Matagorda Island State Park, driven ashore by rolling breakers. Protective booming across Saluria Bayou and Big Bayou appears to have been effective in preventing incursion of oil into Espiritu Santo Bay. NOAA expects that much of the oil will be stranded on the Matagorda Island beach and will employ overflight observations to forecast whether there may be future movement of any oil remaining offshore.

Approximately 150 field response personnel, utilizing 12 response vessels, worked steadily to deploy and adjust more than 16,000 feet of protective boom. They are supported by 96 personnel in the command post.  In addition, responders have staged 48,600 feet of containment boom and 80,000 feet of absorbent boom.

At first light tomorrow, responders will aggressively attack the oil deposited on the Matagorda Island beach, starting with the areas of heaviest concentration at the southern end of the affected area.  The evolution presents logistics challenges, since the area is only accessible by boat through the shallow waters of the inshore bays.  Information from additional overflights will help direct those efforts.

Members of the public are discouraged from accessing the island until the Unified Command announces that response operations are complete. 

A wildlife rehabilitation facility has been established in Port O’Connor at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Coastal Fisheries Laboratory, to assist in the event that birds or marine life are impacted by the oil.  Persons who observe any impacted wildlife should not attempt to capture or handle them but are urged to call 888-384-2000. No reports of affected wildlife have been received.

A claims number has been established for persons who may have questions in regard to personal impact by the incident. The number is 855-276-1575.

For more information, contact the Matagorda Bay joint information center at 214-225-8007.

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For more information contact:
Texas City Y Response JIC
Unified Command
(713) 435-1505
Galveston Island Convention Center
5600 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77554
TexasCityYResponse@gmail.com