UPDATED — Mystery sheen spotted in Port Angeles Harbor

PORT ANGELES — A “mystery sheen” discovered in Port Angeles Harbor on Saturday was dispersing by 1 p.m., city police said.

Authorities said they didn’t know what caused the sheen.

The state Department of Ecology and U.S. Coast Guard determined that the sheen posed no threat to the environment and would dissipate on its own, Sgt. Barb McFall said.

“There’s a theory that it might be gray water — the source of the gray water unknown to us,” Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said.

The grayish sheen was first reported to police at 11 a.m. The Marine Spill Response Corp. was notified immediately.

The sheen had drifted under City Pier by 1 p.m. Scattered remnants were visible near Barhop Brewing on Railroad Street.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew determined that the sheen was about 300 yards wide, said Chief David Mosley of the 13th Coast Guard District in Seattle.

“They never did find the source of it,” Mosley added.

The sheen was odorless and left no residue when touched, police said.

Kayakers who had paddled through the sheen, however, were spraying the substance off their boats at City Pier.

“Initially, the sheen consisted of large solid sections, but those sections were already dispersing by 1 p.m.,” McFall said in a news release in which the material was referred to as a “mystery sheen.”

A boat captain first observed the sheen off Laurel Street at 6 a.m. Saturday but did not immediately report it to authorities, McFall said.

Mosley said a sheen can develop “pretty quickly” from a relatively small fuel spill.

“It was determined by people that know a lot more than we do that it would dissipate on its own,” Smith said.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at [email protected]

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