Newly released aerial photos reveal ‘streamers’ in Florida Keys

Streamers of oil spotted NNW of Marathon

“Unfortunately, [the photos] don’t give what we saw justice,” said Chris Kauffman, referencing the photos he snapped while flying over the Florida Keys on May 22.

Oil streamers in FL Keys (Chris Kauffman)

Oil streamers in FL Keys (Chris Kauffman)

“We saw a lot of oil in the water,” he said.

The oil streamers stretched north to south  for at least 10 miles “North-northwest of Marathon,” on the Gulf side.

“The water appeared to be heading easterly but I can’t confirm that. Plus, the shape of the deposits seemed to indicate that,” Kauffman added.

Photos taken NNW of Marathon at an altitude of 1500

“You can see the larger ‘deposits’ but the water just under the surface was lined with smaller streams for about 10 miles north-to-south from when we first noticed it.”

Compare the newly released aerial photos from the Florida Keys to streamers of oil near the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

BP Oil Spill off the Mississippi coast, GreenFireMedia

From tar balls and residue, to stains and sheens, many sightings of oil in the Florida Keys have been reported since the middle of May.

The Naples Daily News reported fisherman pulling up hauls of oil-covered shrimp sometime between May 22-23 about 10 miles north of the Dry Tortugas. “I seen the sign of that tar out there the other day and I don’t want to get trapped,” said the boat’s captain.

Independent reports from June 2:

From the Palm Beach Post, June 3:

The Coast Guard station in Key West received reports of an oily substance and tar balls approximately four nautical miles south of Long Key. A Coast Guard HU-25 Guardian aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Miami conducted an aerial search and confirmed the presence of sheening in the vicinity of Duck Key. A buoy deployed to track the spill indicated the sheen could land on Grassy Key at any time.

The federal government’s own oil spill forecast maps show oil near the Florida Keys during this time period.

Yet, the Coast Guard denies any connection to the blowout in the Gulf.

Florida Keys Keynoter, June 3:

Oily substances and tar balls found in the Middle Keys this week are not connected to the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill, Monroe County Emergency Management and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary said Thursday afternoon.

Citing the U.S. Coast Guard as their source, Sanctuary Superintendent Sean Morton and Emergency Management Director Irene Toner “confirmed the Coast Guard’s earlier reports that tar balls and sheen in a canal on Duck Key were not from the Gulf oil spill,” they said in a statement released Thursday.

Miami Herald, June 3:

Tests on an oil substance and tar balls found Tuesday in Atlantic Ocean waters four miles offshore of the Florida Keys determined the residue did not come from the Deepwater Horizon blowout, said Anna Dixon, spokeswoman for Coast Guard Sector Key West.

“There’s just a lot of hysteria out there right now,” said Sheldon Suga, general manager of Hawk’s Cay Resort on Duck Key. “We were told right away it probably came from a ship.”

The latest forecast from the Ocean Circulation Group and the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at College of Marine Science, University of South Florida shows oil reaching the West Palm Beach coast by June 10:

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