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Oil sheen off San Diego County appears to be dissipating, Coast Guard says

August 30, 2010 |  1:35 pm

An oil sheen spotted Sunday off San Diego County and estimated to be 15 miles long and a half-mile wide is dissipating naturally, the Coast Guard said Monday.

The sheen was spotted by a civilian boater about noon Sunday, prompting the Coast Guard to dispatch a MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter to investigate. The sheen ranged from six miles off Imperial Beach to south of the Mexican border.

A reinspection Monday by a pollution specialist aboard the helicopter showed the sheen was dissipating, Coast Guard officials said. The source of the sheen is unknown. The sheen was in an area heavily traveled by commercial ships.

The sheen is considered to be from a petroleum-based substance but lighter in appearance than one from diesel or other fuels.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego