Coast Guard Again Investigating Unknown Substance Off NC Coast

WILMINGTON, N.C. (Sept. 22, 2010)—The Coast Guard is responding to reports of an unknown substance in the water discovered by boaters in several locations off the North Carolina coast Wednesday.

According to Coast Guard pollution investigators, it is described as a sticky, brown substance with no odor present, which is consistent with attributes of algae.

"Coast Guard pollution investigators are testing samples from multiple locations to make a final determination of whether or not hydrocarbons are present in the water off the coast of North Carolina," said Cmdr. Steve McGee, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Wilmington.

Testing to identify the substance is ongoing.

The substance has been reported as far north as Onslow Beach, N.C. and as far south as Charleston, S.C.

Just last week, the Coast Guard investigated two separate reports in North Carolina regarding suspected oil-based substances found on the beaches at Harkers Island and Atlantic Beach. The substance found on Harkers Island was determined to be a form of algae. The substance found on Atlantic Beach was determined to be roofing tar dropped from a person.

Several Coast Guard units from Sector North Carolina responded to this week's suspected oil pollution reports, including Marine Safety Unit Wilmington, Station Wrightsville Beach and Station Oak Island; as well as an Air Station Elizabeth City HC-130.

The Coast Guard said anyone who suspects or sees pollution on a beach can call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

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