Unified Command Continues Response to Tar Balls Along New Jersey Coast
November 29, 2023
NEW YORK— The unified command, consisting of the Coast Guard, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, remained actively engaged on Wednesday in their response to reports of tar balls found on the beaches stretching from Sea Bright to Asbury Park, New Jersey.
To address the situation, the Coast Guard has tapped into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and contracted Ken’s Marine, an oil spill removal organization, to carry out shoreline assessments and cleanup operations. The cleanup efforts today were concentrated in the Long Branch and Monmouth Beach areas, where the highest concentration of tar balls has been observed. Operations are scheduled to continue tomorrow in the other affected areas.
In collaboration with the Coast Guard, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Monmouth County, and the National Park Service have completed shoreline assessments. These assessments spanned from Sandy Hook to Asbury Park, focusing on identifying and documenting the extent of tar balls present. Areas of particular interest included Gateway National Park at Sandy Hook, as well as the communities of Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach, Long Branch, Deal, Allenhurst, and Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Fortunately, there have been no reports of broader environmental impacts or harm to wildlife at this time. The Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City conducted an overflight of the affected area on Tuesday to detect any signs of oil pollution in the water. However, no oil was observed during the flight.
The source of the tar balls is currently under investigation.
Assisting agencies in this endeavor include the U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, NOAA, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Monmouth County Sheriffs Office of Emergency Management, Monmouth County Health/HAZMAT Department, and Long Branch Office of Emergency Management.
The Coast Guard Sector New York received initial reports of tar balls ranging in size from approximately 1-2 inches and smaller near Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park on Tuesday. In response, pollution response personnel were dispatched to investigate the situation.
Beachgoers and mariners are advised to avoid any contact with the tar balls. If anyone notices the presence of tar balls or oil sheen in the area, they should immediately contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.
[Image: U.S. Coast Guard Photos]