Low Risk in Near-Term to Florida Peninsula

Press Release – Joint Command:

Florida Sentry Program Confirms Low Risk in Near-Term to Florida Peninsula and Keys

MIAMI – Surface and aerial based monitoring of waters off the west coast of Florida south of the panhandle and the Florida Keys continues to show that the risk remains low for pollution threats to the Florida Peninsula from the Deep Water Horizon/ BP oil spill in the near-future.

Since the Florida Sentry program commenced one week ago, two vessels are conducting ongoing monitoring and detection surveys. These vessels have not detected oil or weathered oil products. In addition, over flights from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater along the West Coast and the Florida Keys did not observe oil that would pose a direct threat to the west coast of Florida in the near-term.

While the threat remains low, the Florida Peninsula Command Post continues to plan for the possibility of the landfall of weathered oil products. A Vessel of Opportunity plan has been established that, once triggered, will provide local boat operators an opportunity to assist with response activities. The primary trigger will be the identification of a significant threat from weathered oil identified by the surface and aerial monitoring activities.

The Command Post has also adopted a volunteer plan under which individuals interested in volunteering are able to be placed with local community organizations doing spill preparation work. This work is being coordinated through Volunteer Florida at www.volunteerflorida.org. It should be noted that volunteers will not engage in direct contact with oil or oil-contaminated materials or oil contaminated wildlife.

In addition, the Florida Peninsula Command Post has established an environmental team whose specific purpose is the monitoring of ocean currents, satellite data, weather conditions and other data enabling the Florida Peninsula Command to identify any emerging threats to the region.