UPDATE: Tar balls, oil patch spotted on Miss. shoreline

OCEAN SPRINGS — Oil has been spotted in at least two areas on Mississippi’s shoreline in Jackson County, the county’s emergency management director said Sunday.

Donald Langham said tar balls and a patch of oil were spotted at the St. Andrews beach and at the Lake Mars pier in Gulf Park Estates.

Langham said cleanup teams were on the scene and two skimming vessels were working the channel between Deer Island and the shore.

He said more vessels were expected to skim the area on Monday.

“We’re trying to catch as much as we can right now before we get any more impact,” Langham said.

Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Robbie Wilbur said his agency was investigating the reports and compiling information.

On Sunday, Capt. Ray West of the Gulf Park Estates and St. Andrews Fire District said he saw the tar balls in Gulf Park Estates, just outside Ocean Springs.

“They’re definitely there,” West said.

But Ocean Springs Police Lt. Bruce Spearnock said no oil had reached the beach in his city.

For weeks, Mississippi’s coast had been spared from the massive oil leak that’s inundated other fragile marshes and beaches in other states. But in recent days, more oil has found its way into the state’s waters and barrier islands.

The Associated Press