On Wednesday 29th July 2015, around 10 a.m., two kayakers reported spotting an oil sheen that coated their kayaks and legs as they sailed about 1000 feet off the beach of Goleta.
The sighting is at a vicinity of 12 miles from the earlier, May 19 crude oil spillage due to rupturing of an underground pipe near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara. The earlier spillage released thousands of gallons of crude oil and required extensive cleanup operations. The patch was seen near Holly oil Platform. The owners Venoco Inc have denied any involvement as, their pipeline has been shut down since May and has been flushed of all oil and is now refilled with seawater.
Sheens such as these in the Santa Barbara Channel, are part of life in a region where the petroleum-rich sea bed regularly emits oil but the authorities are not yet labelling the spill as “caused naturally”, given that it is unusually large. The sheen appears like a thin coat of paint. The USCG feels that it would dissipate on its own. A marine safety team is working on finding the source of the oil spill, including whether it is of natural cause from the Santa Barbara Channel.