June 4th, 2010
03:19 PM ET

Oil confirmed on Pensacola beaches

Tar sits on the beach in Gulf Breeze, Florida, on Friday.

For days, CNN's small army of reporters, photographers and producers has been repositioning toward Florida as oil was expected to come ashore in the Sunshine State.

And on Friday morning, tar balls - hundreds of small bits of hardened oil - littered Pensacola's white beaches. Our iReporters had been saying they had spotted tar balls nearby and in different areas a few days earlier. So we set out to check the beaches.

Tourists were the first to begin cleaning it up. iReporter Marc Sigler said he had been camping in Fort Pickens on Tuesday when he saw tar balls; they spent the next day swimming, picking it up and cleaning the beach. iReport: See Sigler's photos

Further south on the beach on Friday, we saw blobs the size of a Frisbee of reddish-brown oil.

Nobody knew for sure whether the tar was from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Local officials said that so much tar had been piling up that they didn't have the resources to test all the balls and blobs of oil locally, so they would be assuming that if they came in such large amounts now, they were probably from the disaster in the Gulf. Similar tar balls and oil slicks have shown up on beaches along the Gulf since the rig exploded and sank.

iReport: Help us track the oil disaster

Friday afternoon, reporters and residents got the answer they were waiting for: Florida's Division of Emergency Management issued a statement saying, "tar patties and tar balls have been confirmed in widely scattered areas east of Pensacola."

Reconnaissance flights are taking place to determine all of the locations nearby that may be affected. While that goes on, some tourists will keep on cleaning - and worrying.

Tourist Catherine Maloney looked at the blobs of oil with surprise and disgust before taking pictures of them.

"This is going to affect this area for years," she said. "It's already so quiet, it feels like a hurricane came."

soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. Tar Balls

    A good hurricane ought to spread us around nicely....

    June 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ruffnutt

    we should totally change the name of tghe city and i have the perfect name for it.. instead of Pensacola-how bout penzaoila?

    June 5, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steven

    Rebecca: It is my understanding that via Halliburton (Mr. Cheney) and/or Transamerica and/or BP they did not want to spend the money on safety equipment for this vessel. Who is actually in charge of the correct operation of the vessel?
    Would these people be responsible? Would this include to have safety equipment, procedures, what actions need to be taken if an incident like this were to happen? What exactly was BP's plan in case something like this were to happen???

    I live in St. Petersburg FL, at some point, some time we will have it wash up on our shores, there does not seem to be a way around it. The winds will change, the tides will change, eventually all of it will end up to some degree on the Florida
    shores also, it is just a matter of time. There is so much of it, it is still flowing, and now perhaps until August....

    June 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRZGRL1

      Hi Steven. I live outside of Charleston, SC. We will see this oil too. We have a beautiful coastline here & a thriving oyster & shrimp industry. It is all at enormous risk & I am so angry & sad. America has made some bad choices along the way but we did not deserve this.

      June 6, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob U

    @ pwoody22: Pensacola Beach IS NOT in Gulf Breeze. In fact, Gulf Breeze has not Gulf shoreline. Gulf Breeze = Santa Rosa County. Pensacola and Pensacola Beach = Escambia County

    A Pensacola Native

    June 5, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill burton

      Bob you are right. I went to Gulf Breeze Elem. school (1958- 59) .... lived on Scenic Hwy ..... Pensacola. There is no gulf front in Gulf Breeze just Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound

      June 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ed

    Tar balls are now being found between Destin and Ft. Walton Beach on Okaloosa Island. It continues to move east.

    June 5, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    I dont get it, how come theres no pictures from either side ? Lets see this devistation. These 100s of tarballs and other drastic destruction. WHERE IS THE PICS outside of a lone tarball

    June 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BP Bound

    It is hilarious to hear everyone wanting to boycott BP ! If your looking for blame....I suggest George W and Dick-less Cheney! They deregulated along with many other republican presidents and this is what the American people get! I feel very bad for the people along this disaster area.......but to blame BP! Wake up simple minded people!

    June 5, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRZGRL1

      I consider myself a reasonably smart person. I know that BP is not the only organization to blame in this situation. We are all to some extent responsible for allowing this to happen, for not insisting on change many years ago. However, this particular disaster is a direct result of irresponsibility on BP's part. It may be irresponsibility of a criminal nature when all is said and done. And, in my opinion, BP hid the full extent of this disaster for quite some time after the Deepwater Horizion sank. For those reasons, I will boycott BP for the rest of my life. They have acted reprehensibly every step of the way. We owe it to the dead, human and animal. Boycotting BP is one way that we can honor them. We can also honor them by increasing our recycling efforts, eating less meat and fish, pushing for more fuel efficient cars & demanding the development of alternative energy. This can be a decision point for this country. I hope we can use this tragic disaster as a force for change.

      June 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRZGRL1

      Oh, did I also mention that I'm so glad that you're finding this disaster something to laugh at? Glad you can view it as "hilarious".

      June 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. saltdog52

    Lets see how this plays out with the watermen of the gulf getting there money that BP should pay for lost of profit. The great GOV of this country sat on this too long again and I have not seen the great protector of the enviorment big AL Gore talking about this disgrace at all.

    June 5, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fan of God

    and the water was turned to blood....always wondered how that was going to happen....just didnt think I would see it on my lifetime...8(
    now will someone PLEASE put the rules back in place...and oh by the way...that goes for those damned banks too....8)

    June 6, 2010 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. P. Wright

    "DRILL, BABY, DRILL!!!" (LOL...Palin & Co.)

    June 6, 2010 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. ol' tomtom

    Everyone that owns or invested in beachfront property should ready them selves for a financial decline. All this oil on the beaches is going to decrease the property value. I'm a beach lover and this BP oil blunder turns my stomach. They should be fined to the max and then some. If it were up to me I would have every BP gas station and product banned from Florida! They ruined our wonderful beaches for our children and granchildren. Having them clean up this mess is a joke!! They will never get things back to normal and will kill plenty of animals and sealife. I would be ashamed to be an employee of BP or be affiliated with them in any way. WITH THE EXPLOSIVES THE GOVERNMENT HAS READILY AVAILABLE, WHY CAN'T THEY BLOW THIS LEAK SHUT????? SEEMS TO ME THAT SOMEBODY WANTS TO SAVE THEIR OILHOLE!!

    June 6, 2010 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rob

    Makes one wonder who is ultimately making the decisions and wonder if it is the same group of folks who decided that paying Northern truck driver's $1000/day to haul ice down during the Katrina aftermath only to arrive with no place to disperse it and thus the drivers sat with semi's full of melting ice.....I guess it did create a few jobs in terms of putting a positive spin on the checks and balances of all disaster plans...crazy stuff.

    June 6, 2010 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. bob

    Can't we just get rid of Florida all together? It's a disgusting turd of a place anyway. Full of criminals and drug addicts.
    The people are as worthless as the tar balls on their puke, alcohol bottle, and heroin needle ridden beaches.

    June 6, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • JRZGRL1

      Bob, you're a moron. I'm surprised you know how to turn on a computer let alone type a coherent sentence.

      June 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alan

    "hundreds of small bits of hardened oil – littered Pensacola's white beaches."
    I didn't know Florida still had segregated beaches.

    June 6, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Griff

    I'm guessing Woody has few years on him : )
    Gotta love the retirement communities in FL, great place to go

    June 6, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
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