EOC: Pensacola Pass Closes Tonight

County officials announced this afternoon at the EOC 4:30 p.m. press conference that Pensacola Pass will close tonight at 7 p.m. with the incoming tide.

Commissioner Gene Valentino said intercoastal waters would remain open, but a special number would need to be called for commercial vessels to enter or exit the pass this evening.

There are two booming systems: one that extends from Fort Pickens and the other from NAS.

Valentino said there is a gap of roughly 180 feet between the two that will allow a skimmer to come in and capture oil that comes through.

“The currents are so strong…what we are doing is capturing it as it goes beyond the pass,” he said. “We’re catching it as it comes by Ft. Pickens.”

The commissioner also said there were 330 crew members on shore working to pickup tar. There are currently 63 vessels working along the shore skimming and placing oil dispersants into the water.

Two oil plumes are currently off our beaches: one at roughly nine miles and one at six, according to DEP reports.

Bayou Texar will also be closed at 7 p.m. Today more boom was added to the mouth of the bayou. There is not yet any confirmation on how much if any boom will be added to the Project Green Shores Phase II.

There was previous talk of burning part of the oil slick that is currently six miles south of Pensacola Beach. That idea was turned down because the “oil was too thin” according to Escambia PIO Sonya Daniel.

Daniel also confirms that U.S. Senator Bill Nelson will be at the Monday morning EOC press conference.