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Etheridge: Sheen likely from menhaden on Sandy Point

As a result of last night's boating accident in the Gulfport shipping channel, DEQ official Earl Etheridge estimates authorities could potentially have to deal with a 2,000 to 3,000 gallon oil spill.

Etheridge has patrolled the area this morning in one of the skimmers built for last year's BP oil spill. Other skimmers are on standby if needed, but so far only a light sheen has been seen, he said.

The fuel appears to have contained and there is no leak in the shipping channel. The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the area until the boat is moved.

After patrolling the area, Etheridge said the sheen is coming from the menhaden spilled from the Sandy Point, a 163-foot pogey boat that collided with a container cargo ship Eurus London on Wednesday night.

"You can smell it; that's how you know what it is," Etheridge said. "When they raise the boat, they'll make sure the fuel is recovered as it comes off the boat."

Etheridge said 200 to 300 sea birds are in the area, apparently feeding on the spilled fish.