After 11 days of testing, the multi-agency task force assembled to assess the threat the sunken S.S. Montebello has concluded that there are no visible signs of oil in her hull.
“Our number one objective for this mission was to determine what threat, if any, the Montebello poses to the waters and shorelines of California,” said Coast Guard Capt. Roger Laferriere in a written statement. “After careful evaluation of the data, we have concluded with a high level of confidence that there is no oil threat from the S.S. Montebello.”
Within minutes of the news release, state Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), whose persistence lead to the formation of the task force, issued the following statement:
“The finding of no substantial oil threat is a huge relief to our community and the result we had all hoped for. The U.S. Coast Guard and [Fish and Game’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response] deserve enormous credit for leading this complex and technically challenging project. The team brought to bear the best minds and most advanced tools to ascertain the condition of this 70-year-old shipwreck. This cooperative undertaking was a model of how state and federal government can work together to protect this beautiful and fragile stretch of coast.”
For more information, pick up a copy of the Oct. 27 issue of New Times.