Firefighters, Coast Guard Respond to Oil Spill at Port of Los Angeles

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Firefighters and U.S. Coast Guard personnel responded Sunday evening to an oil spill at the Port of Los Angeles, officials said.

An oil spill was reported in waters at the Port of Los Angeles on March 13, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

An oil spill was reported in waters at the Port of Los Angeles on March 13, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

A Los Angeles Fire Department hazardous materials squad was dispatched to Berth 202 at the port in Wilmington, following a report received shortly before 7:30 p.m., the agency said in a statement. LAFD boats were already at the the scene.

A freight vessel was being refueled at the location when the barge crew smelled oil, Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said at a news conference. The Fire Department described the vessel as a "car carrier."

The crew stopped the refueling and inspected the port side of the ship, where they discovered oil leaking from a hatch, Williams said. The vessel was ballasted to stop the leak, according to the captain, but not before the heavy fuel left a visible sheen on the water.

Containment booms were deployed to prevent the oil from spreading -- a measure that limited the regular flow of ship traffic through some of the port's channels, the Coast Guard said. At least one ship was diverted to Anchorage, Alaska.

LAFD investigators determined that no airborne materials posed any threat to the public. No evacuations were ordered.

"At this point we're hampered with the darkness, so we can't really see what's in the water. ... In the morning we'll have a much better idea of what we're doing," Williams said.

A private company was handling mitigation and clean-up work at the scene, the Fire Department said.

An estimate of the amount of fuel spilled was not immediately available.

The cause of the incident was under investigation.