Oil container washes ashore in Florida

June 14th, 2010 by

(CNN) — A portion of beach in Panama City, Florida, was closed Saturday after a large oil container with BP markings washed ashore, local authorities said.
It was not immediately clear if the container, which was leaking a small amount of oil, came from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded April 20 and sank two days later, triggering a massive underwater gusher that has led to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.
The large, stainless steel tank about the size of a refrigerator washed up on the west end of Panama City Beach and was discovered shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday, Bay County sheriff’s Deputy Ray Maulbeck told CNN.
The container has a capacity of 550 gallons of oil, but Maulbeck said officials didn’t know how much oil was in the tank.
BP officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Panama City has not yet seen tar balls or any other evidence of the spill reach its shoreline, according to Bay County spokeswoman Valerie Lovett.
“It was about six foot tall and about three or four feet deep,” Lovett said. “They took it over to the local Coast Guard station and I was told it’s going to be taken to Louisiana, to be laid down with other items similar to that — that are being considered evidence in the investigation.”
The beach is set to reopen Sunday, authorities said.

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