May 19th, 2010
08:50 AM ET

Coast Guard: Tar balls found in Keys not from BP spill

Tar balls discovered on the Florida Keys shoreline are not connected to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.

Tests done "conclusively show" that the tar balls found on the shoreline do not match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The source of the tar balls remains unknown at this time.

"The conclusion that these tar balls are not from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in no way diminishes the need to continue to aggressively identify and clean up tar ball-contaminated areas in the Florida Keys," Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of the Coast Guard's Key West sector said. "We will continue to operate as a Unified Command and utilize funding through the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund until we have successfully identified any additional tar balls on the shoreline and completed cleanup efforts."

WPBF: Read the latest and view pictures of the tar balls

soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Justin Case

    "Key West Tar Balls" is the name of my new band.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Abby

      I'd go see that band...

      May 19, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • james


      May 19, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremiah

      *test sponsored by BP oil.

      May 19, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Chestpain

      You should call your band "ManLove"

      May 19, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • 2trueforU

      No way...that is the new name of my diner...we serve "Key West Tar Balls" on the menu...

      May 19, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Anita Job

      Need a singer?

      May 19, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Big-fat-Florida-boy

      These tar balls show up after one of the worst oil spills in history and the U.S. coast guard, a branch of our oil addicted government says that the issues are not connected? How dumb do they think we are? Thats like saying that my feet got wet from the puddles and not the rain.

      May 19, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      what a crock. for sure these are from that spill. CNN stop supporting the propaganda. This is BS. I mean BP.

      May 19, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeepman

      We get a lot of "tar balls" down here in the Keys. Many tankers illegally pump their bilges in the Gulfstream, and it ends up on the coast all thru the Keys. It'd hell to get off of you fishing lines when trolling in the stream.

      May 19, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy

      A lot of people are saying this could be from bilge? OK I beleive the "naturally" seeping into the ocean theory. But what is "bilge" and why does it have crude oil that contains tar? Fuel for boats is already refined oil and should not form tar balls. Please educate me on how or why bilge contains tar.

      May 19, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Angelica

      LOL!!! LOVE IT!!!

      May 19, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Lothar

      Well, Big-fat-Florida-boy, if the chemical composition of the tar balls and the chemical composition of the spilled oil in the gulf do not match, I'd say that the US Coast Guard is right!

      May 19, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kerri there may be more oil rigs slowly leaking out there? Nice safety controls.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Perspective

      ... or a fishing/torurist vessel leaking bunker fiuel/oil.

      May 19, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      You know that oil does in fact naturally leak into the ocean. There is just as good of a chance it occured from one of these natual leaks as it did from a leak oil rig or a sunken ship.

      May 19, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • 2trueforU

      Come on Kerri...oil naturally seeps out of the ground over time. Plus it could be from ship pollution or other sources...don't act so depressed about it.

      May 19, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Florida girl

    Thank goodness! Wish people wouldnt jump to conclusions before test are completed.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • ill

      but it wouldnt be news if they didnt jump to conculsions

      May 19, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • nookly23

      I admit, I jumped to conclusions. I new it had to be the same. Lesson learned, I hope.

      May 19, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Near3am

      Ummm. FG.. if you would have read, it did say "Tests done "conclusively show" that the tar balls found on the shoreline do not match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill"

      May 19, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Perspective

    I'm sure it was a big dissapointment to the Keys that they couldn't blame this on the Deepwater Horizon spill. Due note that they fully intent to continue using oil spill funds to continue cleaning up tar-ball contaminated areas in the Keys, maybe they will find 4 more! Based on his description of the current state of their beaches, tourist better be aware of what a mess it is there right now.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Wired

      I'm sure the Keys will gain far more by saying it is from another source than they could ever gain from BP. Tourists will cancel if they think the beaches are bad and will get worse.

      May 19, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Manatee

      Have you ever been there? Doesn't sound like it. Florida has some of the most beautiful beaches anywhere, with such a diversity of wildlife. From the mangroves and beautiful reefs in the Keys to the soft white sugar sands in Northern Florida, we have a lot to lose. Take a boat out in the Keys and you can see dolphin pods, sea turtles, manatees, large and small rays, and of course lots of sharks and barracuda. Look up and you'll find bald eagles, frigate birds, kites and hawks, and of course pelicans. We in Florida are dreading the arrival of the massive oil slick and naturally think every tar ball – which we rarely see – is the beginning. I dread seeing the die-off of the reef, fish, birds, and marine mammals.
      So why don't you learn a little something before opening your uneducated mouth.

      May 19, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • jonny

      you must have tiny tar balls

      May 19, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Voig Nederlander

      Key West doesn't actually have any natural beaches, just one tiny manmade one that isn't especially attractive.

      May 19, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Will S

      The Keys marine areas are pristine. I was diving and snorkeling there a couple weeks ago. Small amounts of rubbish ("tar balls" included) occur everywhere because of currents. They are in the news now because people are actively looking for them, not walking on by like usual.

      May 19, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. M.R.Rajeswara Rao

    We........I mean the people on this entire planet are unified in one singular purpose. That is to turn the whole of the earth into one vast dustbin!

    May 19, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Elmer Romero

      ...a very oily dustbin.

      May 19, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Steeev

      Isn't Oily Dustbin the lead singer of Key West Tar Balls?

      May 19, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    Judging by our oversight of off shore oil wells these tar balls probably came from another leaking well we don't even know about. Another reason to have the oil companies pay the salaries of our regulators I guess.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality Sucks

      Judging by what the cruise industry has been doing for decades, with the huge increase in number of ships, it is no wonder some of the bunker oil they have been dumping for years has washed ashore. There are a lot more cruise ships traveling the waters off of the keys than there are oil rigs.

      May 19, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jim Shorts

    I take bubble baths in tar

    May 19, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Network

      Drill baby Drill!

      May 19, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. This Guy

    This is grown up matters so let the grown ups deal with it. Considering thats how the government makes the average joe feel.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Andy

    @Florida Girl: thank goodness you have tar balls from other oil source on your coast? "Wow, I'm so glad my car was hit by a *blue* truck instead of a *red* truck; that would be a real disaster."

    May 19, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • A

      i know right....

      May 19, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Don'tBeIgnorant

      I believe FG was "thank goodnessing" the fact that the oil did not come from the BP leak because that means the oil plume has reached the Keys. I think it was taken out of context. Possibly the thank goodness was that it did come a natural oil leak... which I think is a lesser of the two evils.

      May 19, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Randy McLeod

    Yes, when I was kid, a longggggggggggggg time ago, I spent most of my time on the beach. But some days I had to watched where I was walking/running, because of tar. Mostly in Miami, Fl. it was, back in approx. 1960. Taking a guess. And If I remember correctly, this country didn't have any oil rigs at that time, right?

    May 19, 2010 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality Sucks

      but lots of cruise ships that burn bunker oil ply these waters...

      May 19, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jim C

    Naturally occurring oil seeps are common, even under water.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tar Baby Tar

    I gots tar balls 😛 Wanna see em?

    May 19, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. hhm

    In the event no one told you, it is not uncommon for oil and natural gas to seep from the ocean floor 365/24-7. Your conclusion is specious.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Brian Smith

    The way both sides are desperately trying to politicize this handful of tarballs is creepy.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jessica


    May 19, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
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